PO BOX 5079 (51102)
SIOUX CITY, IA (51105)


The Word of God in life and mission of church

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


The word “Catechetical” is a difficult word to spell, pronounce and understand. It is familiar to many involved in leadership roles in the Church, but I bet the “average Catholic” has little understanding of the word. “Catechetical” and “Catechesis” refer to teaching our Catholic faith. We are talking about religious education for children, youth and adults.

Catechetical Sunday is celebrated in our diocese and in many places around the country on Sunday, September 21, 2008. The theme for Catechetical Sunday 2008 is “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” This is also the theme for the Synod of Bishops that will take place in October 2008. During the three weeks of the Synod, bishops representing the whole world will gather in Rome to pray, study, and discuss the role that Sacred Scripture plays in the Church’s life and mission.

Among the many issues they will consider are these:
• How the work of Scripture scholars is shaping Catholic attitudes and understanding of the Bible
• How the Bible is being used for prayer, worship, and study in the daily lives of the People of God
• Which efforts are proving most effective around the world to make the study of the Bible central to Catholic living and spirituality

Especially in this year dedicated to Saint Paul, I hope that all of us put a little more time into praying and reading at least some of the letters of Saint Paul.

This special Sunday gives me a chance to express, on behalf of the entire Church of the Diocese of Sioux City, my thanks to the many men and women involved in Catechesis, Evangelization and Adult Education. In particular I want to thank Mark Thomason, Director of Catechesis, Evangelization and the Rite of Christian Initiation Program, Vera Ludwig, David Lopez and Adam Schwend for their work in Adult Education and Jessica LaFleur Malm for her help with youth.

I also want to thank my brother priests and deacons for all they do as chief catechists in our parishes and school and religious education programs. May they continue to give witness to the word of the Lord made present among us in the Liturgy and in their prayer, teaching and example.

I want to thank our Catholic parents. You are the primary catechists for your children. Keep up your good work, praying for your children, taking them to Mass and Confession and teaching them in your day to day family life.

To all who work specifically in our parishes and schools as catechetical teachers, volunteers, directors and leaders, thank you for accepting your baptismal call to share the faith. Thank you for the gift of your time to this important work. You are planting seeds that will grow and mature in fruitful ways. As always, my hope is that from all our efforts to learn more about our faith, we may be blessed with more priests, deacons and consecrated persons in our diocese.

Thank you to all those involved in the Rite of Christian Institute Program, Adult Learning and Scripture classes and those who help in preparation for sacraments of baptism, confirmation and marriage. All these opportunities are “teachable moments” and I appreciate your love of the Church and dedication and witness to her teachings.

As you can see catechesis seems to involve almost everyone in the Church and it does. We are all co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord. In this year dedicated to Saint Paul, the great teacher to the Gentiles (you and me), keep up the good work. I have faith in you; I place great hope in the witness of your lives.
No one is excused from the important work in growing in faith and deepening our understanding of the Word of God, especially as it is shared with us in the Bible.


In just a few weeks I will have the privilege of ordaining four men from our diocese to the Order of Deacon. This will happen on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi at our Cathedral of the Epiphany. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Bill Black from St. Cecelia Parish, Algona, Dave Brown from Sacred Heart Parish, Boone, Gary Schon from St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Glidden, and Byron Stone from St. Joseph Parish, Wall Lake. These fine men have prepared for many years in preparation for their service to us as deacons. To their wives and families, I say thank you for the support, prayer and encouragement you have given them along the way. Once again, the local Church of the Sioux City Diocese is greatly blessed.


Just a reminder that the 40 Days for Life Program will begin on September 24 and continue until November 2 at the Planned Parenthood Office located at 4409 Stone Ave. in Sioux City. Please join the dedicated people who will meet late Tuesday night the 23rd to begin the 40 Days for Life prayer and vigil at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24. Prayer, fasting and vigil for an end to abortion, specifically at those places in our Diocese where surgical abortions are performed is our goal. All are welcome to join us in this “holy assault” to change hearts and minds to understand the evil of abortion.

May God Bless our efforts and Saint Paul pray for all of us in a special way this year. May the Lord give you and your loved ones abundant peace.

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City

(Aren’t the Broncos amazing! I think I may be getting some more Iowa fans for my favorite team!)


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