Not only did you help me learn what it means to live out the call of priesthood, you also gave me a place to learn more about the gifts God desires to give the Church. I look with a lot of gratitude at how you offered this place to be a canvas where I could learn about Jesus’ desire to heal bodies and souls. Very early on in my time here, we invited a group called Encounter Ministries to offer a conference on healing and a night for healing prayer. The power of God palpably touched so many lives. And, although some very well may remain hesitant about a ministry that so directly seeks God’s healing through Jesus Christ, you all have blessed this adventure in so many ways. Thank you for your support and for giving me time and space to learn more about healing and how to bring others into praying for healing. I’ve learned from you how to pray with others, and your feedback and the healings that have taken place continue to fill me with awe.
What I love most, though, is seeing you all pray with and for one another for healing. At several Masses over the years and, most recently, at the “revival” we held last Fall, I witnessed a church willing to lay hands on one another and pray for healing and strength and blessing. What an awesome sight! When the Body of Christ reaches out and builds up one another in times of pain - whether the pain is emotional, physical or spiritual - it is then that we see the Kingdom of God at hand in a very special way. You have also been healed through the prayers of one another and God has used you mightily. There are so many stories of people experiencing the presence of God at St. Francis de Sales - please, share your stories of God’s presence, healing, blessing and power to bear testimony to the Good News.
One of my main messages through these years emphasized praying and reading with the Bible. Thank you for so many who took that to heart and told me that you have taken up reading the Bible either again or for the first time. It can be intimidating cracking open the Bible for serious reading; sometimes there can be fear or even shame that “I don’t know what it will mean” or “I’m ashamed I haven’t done this sooner.” Let Jesus take that shame and fear, it doesn’t belong to you. As you open the Bible, please pray with the Word of God and incorporate the meditation and reading of the Word of God into your daily life. There are some weeks where I’m better at doing that than others; sometimes, we just get busy with life. But, when the Scriptures become a foundation for us, we end up knowing who Jesus Christ really is and, then, we can follow him better as his disciples. Please, keep reading and praying with your Bibles.
In the Word of God, the Lord often reminds his people to care for the poor and the weak. When praying for those needing healing, those passages take on flesh through our ministry. But, there are some needs that we cannot meet on our own. Through getting to know St. Germaine Cousin I got to know an organization called Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). OUR literally frees captives. OUR sends its workers into the darkest places of the world to free those caught in human sex and labor trafficking. It is a very hard thing to read accounts of what young people and others of all ages face from human trafficking. But, we need people to go to those places to fulfill the call of Christ. I will continue to pray for healing and invite people to do that, but this healing also includes justice that ends evil in society. One of the worst evils in our society is human trafficking. And, so…
I know many of you will want to offer me a note of thanks and perhaps even a gift of money as a way to say “Thank You” to me before I leave in June. I do appreciate your generosity and am always humbled by your care and thoughtfulness. If you really want to show your appreciation, though, I would invite you to please donate whatever you would have given me (or whatever you prayerfully discern to give) to a campaign I began on OUR’s website titled: Fr. Bearer’s Goodbye Gift.
Please click on this link to get access to this fundraiser and please share it on social media to get the word out about this awesome organization: https://my.ourrescue.org/fundraisers/fr-bearers-goodbye-gift
Keep praying for healing for one another. Keep opening up the Bible and sitting with God’s love letter to you. But, please pray also for OUR and an end to this blight on our society called human trafficking. In lieu of a gift to me, please consider joining the campaign above by clicking on the link and donating to help OUR set captives free. It would mean a lot to me and a lot to those who are set free from the trauma of human trafficking through OUR. Please pray for OUR through the intercession of St. Germaine Cousin. And, thank you so, so much for all that you’ve done to support me throughout these four years. Time went by way too fast! I cannot adequately express how much St. Francis de Sales has meant to me. You have all, in one way or another, been a part of changing my life for the better.
With Love and Gratitude,
Fr. Jacob Bearer