In a pastoral letter marking the first Sunday of Advent, His Excellency Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury dedicated 2019 as the diocesan Year of Holiness, calling attention to the Second Vatican Council’s emphasis on the universal call to holiness. “It is this universal call to holiness which I wish all of us, clergy and people, to focus upon anew. It is striking that, amid all the crises of the 20th Century, the central message of the Second Vatican Council was that every one of us, in every state of life, is called to the fullness of the Christian life and the perfection of love: that is, called to become nothing less than a saint,” His Grace Bishop Davies wrote.
As reported by CNA, His Excellency Bishop Davies wrote that “Advent is a time of renewed hope leading us to the light of Christmas. It is a journey we make in the darkest days of our year. Such days evoke the dark shadows in the world around us, and those failures in the lives and witness of Christians which have at times cast dark shadows over the face of the Church, obscuring for many, the clear light of Christ shining from her.” The Bishop said that “our renewal in holiness” is “the only renewal of the Church which will ever matter. It is why only saints resolved the crises the Church has faced throughout history and why they have proved to be the great evangelizers.”
The Bishop encouraged everyone in the Diocese of Shrewbury to recall in the coming year that there is found in the Church, holy though composed of sinners, everything needed to grow in holiness. His Excellency Bishop Davies concluded his message with a prayer, “Let us ask Our Lady, she who is ‘full of grace’, to accompany us along the path to the holiness, the true happiness to which we are called.”