Letter from the Bishop

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In 1531, the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, a humble Indian convert to Catholicism, launched the greatest grass roots wave of evangelization ever seen.  Her words, the color of her skin, the symbolic details of her clothing and the circumstances and people surrounding the miraculous event combine to offer a message that is as relevant to us today as it was to the ancient Aztec people.  It is a message of love, unity and hope—one that draws us to her Son, Jesus Christ, and inspires us to bring others closer to Him, too.

With Our Lady as our model, together we can Help Build a Civilization of Love beginning with our own families and parishes throughout the Diocese of Metuchen.  Having shown herself as a young, Indian maiden with child, the Blessed Virgin reminds us of the innate dignity of every person, each deserving of compassion, generosity and justice. 

Much of the work that is done through our Church to advocate for respect for life at every stage, to form our youth in the faith, and to promote unity within our diverse cultures depends on the sharing of our financial resources through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.  Likewise, the basic necessities of food and shelter provided through Catholic Charities, as well as the counseling services the agency offers to those struggling with addictions and other hardships of life can only continue with your help.

With the needs of our diocese in mind, I have discerned that our renewed awakening and deepening of our relationship with Christ will be entrusted to Mary.  By choosing to reveal herself and her message through Juan Diego and his modest tilma (overcoat), Our Lady affirmed the evangelistic role of every person.  Regardless of our vocation—clergy, religious, married or single—each of us is called to give witness to our beliefs by our generosity and charitable works in daily life.  When others we encounter—family, friends and strangers—see the love of Christ shine forth through us, they will be inspired to renew their own personal commitment to Christ.

The challenges facing our society today require the strength, resolve and resources of our entire Catholic community.  The Bishop’s Annual Appeal is one way we can connect in faith and love and make our world a better place.  Working together with renewed spirit and sufficient resources, we can Help Build a Civilization of Love.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe be for us a sign of hope, renewal and intense evangelization to her Son, Jesus Christ, and may God abundantly bless you for your support and generosity.

With renewed best wishes, I remain

Yours in Christ,

Most Rev. James F. Checchio, JCD, MBA
Bishop of Metuchen