English Bishop declares 2019 the ‘Year of Holiness’

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England has declared 2019 the "Year of Holiness" in a pastoral letter marking the First Sunday of Advent.

“Holiness is happiness… It is only by being holy that we can be truly happy,” he wrote.

Davies’ letter called attention to the Second Vatican Council’s emphasis on the universal call to holiness. “It is this universal call to holiness which I wish all of us, clergy and people, to focus upon anew,” he said.

The Bishop also cites the importance of the Christmas season in allowing for change within the Church: “Advent is a time of renewed hope leading us to the light of Christmas.”

“Our renewal in holiness [is] the only renewal of the Church which will ever matter,” Davies explained. “It is why only saints resolved the crises the Church has faced throughout history and why they have proved to be great evangelisers.”

Davies continued, “The Holy Father writes, ‘Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God.’ For holiness, he writes, is ‘the extent that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we model our life on Christ’s.’ We can never reach this goal by our own unaided efforts. By the grace of God, we can!”

Bishop Davies added that all things needed to grow in holiness can be found in the Church. “In daily prayer, frequent confession and, above all, in the Holy Eucharist, we are given the divine means, the grace to reach this goal,” he wrote.

“This is our purpose as we enter anew into Advent,” he concluded. “Let us ask our lady, she who is ‘full of grace,’ to accompany us along the path to the holiness, the true happiness to which we are called.”

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Alexander Foster

Alexander Foster is the Digital Communications Officer in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle