| By Father Dwight Ezop

Rightside up or upside down, it's all about faith

Before anyone calls, writes or sends e-mail, let me answer the following very important questions about the issue of FAITH that you are holding in your hands:

No, we have not lost our minds. No, there was not an error at the printing plant.

This issue of FAITH looks a little different on purpose. The truth is that we have so much news to share this month that we had to devise a way to craft an edition of the magazine that actually has two covers. One cover represents our annual Teen Issue, while the other cover features Bishop Steven Raica, the former Chancellor of the Diocese of Lansing, who was recently ordained Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. The result is this uniquely formatted issue.

I continue to be amazed by the faith and dedication of the teens and young people who are part of our parish communities. They are clearly hungering for a variety of ways to grow in their faith. They are also clearly ingenious when it comes to the many ways they are able to express that faith on a daily basis. While many students make use of their college spring break as a time for relaxation and partying, we thought it might be good to feature a group of young people who are part of the growing “alternative spring break” trend, which offers students the opportunity to put their faith into action in a variety of locations and within a variety of life situations. Unique opportunities for service permit young people with a blend of God-given talent and energy to bring the Good News to places in need.

I first met then-Monsignor Steven Raica when I was a seminarian. More than 20 years ago, while on retreat with the other seminarians of our diocese, we gathered in the chapel at St. Francis Retreat Center for prayer. That evening, a quiet, unassuming priest of our diocese climbed the steps up to the chapel’s small choir loft and seated himself at the chapel’s organ. That evening, now-Bishop Steven Raica offered the gift of beautiful music that enhanced our evening prayer and taught us all a lesson that required no words – just actions that revealed the willingness to share God-given gifts in simple ways that are clearly memorable to me to this day. I join with all the faithful of our diocese in prayerfully wishing Bishop Raica well in his new ministry to the people of the Diocese of Gaylord. I know that by his quiet, faith-filled ways, Bishop Raica will continue to find ways to share God’s gifts in order to gently follow Jesus and join in shepherding the People of God.

This issue of FAITH contains an inspiring variety of stories of God’s goodness. The innovative format of this month’s issue allows these stories to be shared with you in a way that we hope helps you to enjoy them all the more. And so, in unique fashion, our journey in FAITH continues.

FAITH: the Director’s Cut

You know how DVDs sometimes come with a bunch of extra features? Like alternate endings? Students at Lansing Catholic High School designed covers for FAITH as a class project – check them out here for some cool student designs.

Father Dwight Ezop is editor of FAITH Magazine and pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Fenton. Email: editor@FAITHpub.com.