Archbishop Charles Chaput has been a diocesan bishop for 31 years. For most of that time, his people have known where to find him on Sunday afternoon or evening: hearing confessions and offering Mass in his cathedral.
Chaput celebrated this weekend his last Sunday Mass as a diocesan bishop.
At the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Chaput told his parishioners he is grateful to them, and pointed following Jesus Christ as the pathway to truth and happiness.
“I’ll still be around, I’m not dying, I’m just retiring,” Chaput said Feb. 16, just days before the Tuesday installation of his successor, Archbishop-designate Nelson Perez.
Chaput thanked the congregation for “the gift of your presence in my life.”
The archbishop described his successor Perez, until recently the Bishop of Cleveland, as “a very good man” who “will serve you well as archbishop.”
“I am very grateful to those who have supported me at this Mass,” he said, thanking the choir, cathedral rector Father Gerald Gill, and the cathedral community.
“Some of you are regular Mass attenders at this Sunday night Mass,” he said. “I’m very grateful for your presence. It really is the highlight of my week.”
In his homily, Chaput reflected on divine law and God’s revelation.
“One of the problems with the commandments is we think of them as laws or rules. What they really are is a pattern of life,” Chaput said. “They’re not there to test us to see if we’re good, because we know we’re not, right? The commandments are there to show us how to be good.”
“God is telling us if you want to be happy, then don’t steal. If you want to be successful, you won’t bear false witness. If you want to have successful marriages, you won’t commit adultery,” the archbishop explained.
“We have freedom to choose whether or not to be good,” he said. At the same time, he emphasized that Christians can’t keep the commandments on their own, but must depend on God’s grace. Some struggle and sin again and again, “sometimes because we depend on ourselves rather than God.”
“Jesus was very serious about the Ten Commandments and invites us to do the same,” said Chaput. “We ask the Lord to give us a love for the commandments. We don’t see them as a burden, but as a pathway to joy and peace and great happiness in our lives.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.