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 | Bishop Ron Hicks

Reflecting the Archangels

Homily by Bishop Ron Hicks | Installation Mass September 29, 2020 | Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet, IL

Hoy celebramos la fiesta de los Arcángeles: Miguel, Gabriel y Rafael. O como decimos en inglés: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Today as we celebrate the feast of the Archangels, we hope and pray that our Church may reflect what these Angels do.

For example:

  • Michael defends and protects. He carries his sword and is ready to do battle with evil. Like Michael, we are called to defend and protect human life, the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the other, the environment, and even our faith itself.

  • Gabriel, who is God’s warrior, announces the Good News of salvation. He is the messenger to Zechariah and to Mary, the Mother of God. Like Gabriel, we are called to spread the Good News, through word and deed, to evangelize and pass our faith on from one generation to the next.

  • Rafael brings God’s healing. Like Rafael, we are called to be healers in these times of pandemic, job loss, violence, racism, injustices and disunity. And, also, we are called never to turn a blind eye to the sick, the suffering, the unborn, the orphan, the abandoned and victim-survivors.

We might get overwhelmed by the actions of the Archangels and say, “I cannot do that. I cannot follow their example of protection, evangelizing and healing.”

Or we may say, “I am no warrior. I have no sword.”

But not all warriors carry swords. In fact, some of the most powerful defenders of God’s kingdom bring peace though small acts of kindness, love and solidarity.

So, if we say, I cannot do what the Archangels do. Remember, we are never alone.

We are together with other members of the Christian community, with people of good will, and with the Holy Spirit, who is always with us.

Hace un año, fui en vacaciones a Zacatecas y Jalisco con el Obispo Flores de Brownsville, Texas, y otros dos sacerdotes. Pasamos unas noches en un pueblo que se llama, Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles. Mientras estuvimos allá, celebramos todas las misas de las fiestas patronales y también montamos a caballo hasta un lago donde comimos tacos de pescado con tortillas hechas a mano.

¡Que gusto fue!

Durante nuestro tiempo allá, el alcalde nos dijo que en el pueblo faltaba una frase o un dicho. Entonces, Obispo Flores concibió un dicho bien bonito. El dijo, “Santa Maria de Los Ángeles ... Donde la tierra se encuentra con el Cielo.”

Qué bonito y así es nuestra iglesia con la encarnación de nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo ... donde la tierra y el cielo se encuentran con Maria la Madre de Dios, y con los arcángeles y su protección, proclamación y sanción.

In one of my assignments as a priest, I met a woman with whom I am still friends.

She is very holy and a joy to be around. She is pro-life, prays constantly and puts her faith into practice by serving the poor. If someone needs prayers, if there is a soup kitchen that needs volunteers, if there is a food pantry that needs donations, she responds immediately. Yet she never tries to do it alone. Instead she always says, “Let me call my angels.”

I love that she calls the people who help her, “her angels.” And when she asks them to do something, I have never seen them say, “No.” Over the years, her angels have grown to a large group of ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things with love and generosity. Now that is the community of faith in action.

And that is angelic!

Today, on this beautiful feast of the Archangels, I am both humbled and excited.

My heart is bursting with gratitude, which I want to express and share:

  • To Archbishop Pierre: THANK YOU for all your hard work, and for your trust in me. Please extend to the Holy Father my gratitude, constant loyalty and prayers.
  • To Cardinal Cupich: THANK YOU for your leadership. I have learned so much from you.
  • To Bishop Conlon: THANK YOU for shepherding this local church during the past nine years and for exhorting everyone “TO GO” and become missionary disciples.
  • To Bishop Pates: THANK YOU for keeping a steady hand on the rudder, especially during this time of pandemic, and for all the ways you have helped to make my transition here successful.
  • To my brother bishops: THANK YOU for being such powerful examples of what it means to be servant-leaders.
  • To everyone from the Archdiocese of Chicago: THANK YOU for forming me my entire life. I will miss you but am also grateful that we are still so close.
  • To the people of the Diocese of Joliet, the clergy, religious and all the faithful: THANK YOU for your enthusiasm and friendliness in receiving me as your new bishop.
  • To my family and friends all over the world: THANK you for your constant support. I truly thank God for you.
  • To my Mom and Dad: THANK YOU for showing me what unconditional love looks like.

In the First Reading, the Book of Ecclesiastes beautifully and poetically talks about time.

“There is a time for everything under the heavens.

A time to weep and a time to laugh.

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them”…etc., etc.

As I conclude, let me add a few other personal thoughts to that list....

  • There is also a time to know about God and a time to know God.

  • A time to love God and a time to love our neighbor as ourselves.

  • A time to protect and a time to build up.

  • A time to announce the Word of God and a time to put our faith into action.

  • A time to heal and a time to be healed.

This is our time, so, together with God and the Archangels, let us begin!


Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography

After affirming that he was willing to accept the Apostolic Mandate to serve faithfully the spiritual needs of the people in the Diocese of Joliet, Bishop Hicks shows the Apostolic Mandate to those gathered.

Photo By Burns Photography

After Cardinal Blase Cupich and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio, escorted  Bishop Hicks to the cathedra, Bishop Hicks was met with applause as the cathedra, known as the bishop's chair, is the sign of his teaching office and pastoral ministry in the local Church and a sign of unity in the faith that the bishop proclaims as shepherd of the Lord's flock.

Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography

From left to right: Bishop Emeritus R. Daniel Conlon; Archbishop J. Peter Sartain; Cardinal Blase Cupich; Bishop Ron Hicks; Archbishop Christophe Pierre; Bishop Richard E, Pates; Bishop Joseph M. Siegel.

Photo By Burns Photography

The Masters of Ceremonies: From left to right: Father Ryan Adorjan; Deacon Don Randolph; Deacon Bob Miciunas; Deacon Len Penkala; Bishop Ron Hicks; Deacon Joe Johnson; Deacon Bill Dunn; Deacon Ed Petak. Missing from the photo is Father William De Salvo, V.F.

Photo By Burns Photography
Photo By Burns Photography