DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST OF THE DIOCESE OF CHARLOTTETOWN,
MAY THE JOY OF THE RISEN LORD BE WITH YOU!
Upon the appointment of the Holy Father to be your shepherd, I would like to extend to all of you greetings, prayers, and wishes for a Happy Easter.
I know that you have been waiting for more than two years for a bishop. During this time, you experienced much hardship: the early retirement of your beloved Bishop Grecco owing to reasons of health, the harsh reality of the pandemic, hurricane Fiona’s devastating effects and many other unexpected personal, social, economic and life challenges; and so, I want to thank you for your prayers, patience, and perseverance.
As Saint Paul said in the letter to Romans, if God is for us, who can be against us?
I look forward to journeying with you and being your spiritual Father and Shepherd. I am honoured and, at the same time, humbled by the appointment the Holy Father has entrusted me with to serve you as your bishop. I am grateful to the Holy Father for his confidence. My words of gratitude go to your beloved Bishop Grecco who shepherded you with wisdom, zeal, love, dedication, and pastoral care. Let’s continue to pray for him so he may enjoy a long, happy, healthy, and well-deserved retirement. I am grateful to Father Brian MacDougall, the administrator of the diocese, and all of the diocesan staff, priests, religious, and lay ecclesial for their perseverance, leadership, and generous service to you.
As you may have read in the original announcement of my appointment, God has guided me and brought me here from Poland through Italy and through the Diocese of London, where I served as a priest for 24 years and as a bishop for eight years. During those years, I experienced so many blessings.
I have always enjoyed parish ministry and have been spiritually enriched by people’s faith, cultures, languages, traditions, charisms, gifts, and beautiful devotions. The deep faith of the people I served, the joy and enthusiasm of young people to follow Jesus, the dedication of priests, deacons, religious, lay ecclesial ministers, volunteers, and their love for the Church and Jesus Christ have always been such an inspiration to me.
I look forward to meeting the priests, religious, and all of you dear people of this wonderful Island and Diocese, shepherding you, and working with you in furthering the mission of the Church among you. In the spirit of synodality promoted by Pope Francis, we can express our confidence that Jesus will accompany us “together on the road” to worship God, serve the poor and evangelize. It will be a joy for me to grow in my knowledge and appreciation of the parishes of your diocese in the coming months.
When the Apostolic Nuncio communicated this appointment to me, it was the feast of Saint Joseph. In my homily that day, I reflected on two particular virtues of Saint Joseph: his tender care for the Holy Family, and his trust in God’s plan.
The official date of the appointment, April 2nd, is also meaningful to me since Saint John Paul II died on 2 April 2005, on the vigil of Divine Mercy. I have a special devotion to Saint John Paul II, and I chose for my episcopal ministry motto, “Jesus, I trust in you,” which is accompanied by the image of Jesus the Divine Mercy in my coat of arms.
Please pray for me so that I can faithfully imitate these and many other of Saint Joseph’s virtues in serving and shepherding you with trust in God’s abundant mercy, love, and providence.
As we celebrate Easter, the most significant day of the liturgical year, we are reminded that we are called to be people of joy and hope. The sadness of Good Friday is followed by the silence of Holy Saturday. This despair is transformed into hope by the light of Easter morning. Our disappointments, illnesses, and losses seem insignificant in comparison to Jesus’ immense sacrifice. We are once again renewed in spirit, and we proclaim: He is Risen, Alleluia!
May the joy of the Risen Lord be with you! Happy Easter!
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, C.S.M.A.
Bishop-designate of Charlottetown