2023: A Not Very Comprehensive Year in Review

I have never written a year in review Christmas letter. I do appreciate them from others. With a few photos pasted in, it gives me a literal picture of the past year.

      What follows will by no means be comprehensive. This is not the top 10 stories published in the Northwest Indiana Catholic, but a few highlights as I look back on the year. It’s good to reflect on all the blessings that we receive over time. Sometimes everything can move so quickly that we fail to savor the blessings the Lord has given us.

      With my apologies for events that I’m sure I will overlook, here are a few snippets of the past year.

      Diocesan-wide celebrations: Our annual Chrism Mass in April was a beautiful occasion for the local church. At that time, I preached on the great things the Lord has in store for us in the Diocese of Gary as we place our trust in him and follow his Holy Spirit. June was the month I ordained our newest priest: Father Robert Ross, brother of Father Benjamin Ross and nephew of Father Michael Maginot. In August, about 1,000 members of the faithful gathered for our Eucharistic day “Inspiring Presence” at Bishop Noll Institute. Part of the National Eucharistic Revival, the day was full of inspiring talks and wonderful fellowship centered on the gift of the Holy Eucharist.

      ACTS XXIX: In May, the priests of the diocese gathered for a retreat presented by the apostolate ACTS XXIX (actsxxix.org). There are only 28 chapters in the Acts of the Apostles. Acts “29” refers to our part in continuing the mission of the Acts of the Apostles. Guided by Father John Riccardo and his team, we reflected on the core of the Gospel — that Jesus came to rescue us. ACTS XXIX materials were also the basis for the October retreat for permanent deacons and their wives. A number of our parishes have used the ACTS XXIX video series for parish renewal. I invited our clergy to incorporate these themes in their preaching in Advent and these efforts are bearing good fruit.

      Native sons make good leaders: In February, I concelebrated the Episcopal Ordination Mass of Bishop Patrick Neary, CSC. He is a son of St. Joseph parish, LaPorte. He went on to become a Holy Cross priest, and was appointed Bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota by Pope Francis. Also, in December, Father Robert Dowd, CSC, Michigan City native and alumnus of Marquette Catholic High School, was named the next president of the University of Notre Dame. Prayers and congratulations to both of these native sons and their families as they take on new positions of responsibility. Let’s give a shout out to LaPorte County for producing church leaders of importance.

      Family matters: In January, my oldest brother was invested as a judge in Michigan. In March and May, I presided at the weddings of two nieces. In August, we celebrated with another niece as she became a novice religious sister in the Dominican order. These were great celebrations and joyful opportunities for the family to come together.

      Meaningful spiritual trips: Just before Ash Wednesday, I participated in the dedication of the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine in Oklahoma City. A martyr with a missionary’s heart, he was the first American born male to be declared blessed. (Blessed Solanus Casey followed soon after.) In August, I was privileged to join our pilgrims from the Diocese of Gary for World Youth Day in Portugal. The concluding Mass with Pope Francis was estimated to have 2 million people in attendance. This was a remarkable spiritual event. I’m looking forward to going to the next world youth day in Seoul, South Korea, in 2027.

      Parish visitations: Last spring, I began visiting every parish in the diocese on a more in-depth basis to hear of the progress our parishes are making in implementing our local Synod ‘22. I had already been to every parish but these parish visitations have allowed me a time to be immersed more deeply in the beautiful tapestry of the diocese. I will complete these visitations in early 2024, but from the visits made thus far, I can attest that there is so much good work being done in our parishes. A great “thank you” to our lay faithful and our clergy and religious, who are serving in so many vibrant parish ministries.

      Our Catholic schools continue to grow in attendance and are making a beautiful impact. We continue to build up our Pastoral Center team to be focused on supporting our parish leaders and equipping the faithful for missionary discipleship. Our Catholic Charities meets the needs of so many people. There is so much more, but as you can see we are being led and acting on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Northwest Indiana! 

      The year 2024 is certain to include many beautiful experiences and opportunities to share the Gospel message with others as we look forward to hosting the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage as it passes through our diocese in the first week of July enroute to the National Eucharistic Congress being held in Indianapolis July 17-21. More information can be found on our website: dcgary.org. 

      I am so grateful and blessed to be your bishop. Thank you for your many prayers. Thank you for your encouraging support and your witness to the gospel. Asking God‘s blessings upon all of you through the intercession of the Holy Angels, I remain,


Your servant,

Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Bishop of Gary