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 | By Margaret Ellen Jackson | Correspondent

Going forth to build the kingdom of God

“Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus” -- This proclamation is painted above the altar at St. William Parish in Round Rock, welcoming believers and serving as a reminder of our Lord’s faithful guidance throughout the past 75 years in the Diocese of Austin. It reveals the incredible significance of our rich Catholic tradition and our recognition of God’s true nature - holy, holy, holy.

The closing Mass of the Diocese of Austin’s year-long 75th anniversary Mass was celebrated on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. What better way to kick off the celebration of gratitude than by reflecting on the abundant graces God has provided in the Diocese of Austin.

There were young families and wise elders, all united to worship and give thanks in the celebration of the Eucharist. One young boy clinging to his mother’s shoulder sat patiently before Mass, observing the heavenly beauty of the altar and surrounding art. After turning his head, he was greeted by a group of older women in the adjacent pew who lovingly smiled at him and began pointing out details in the sacred architecture to the youngster, who was absolutely enthralled.

Joining Bishop Joe Vásquez were Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and 14 other bishops from across Texas and beyond. The procession also included more than 90 priests and deacons. Cardinal DiNardo delivered a reflective homily about our mission as Christians to build the Kingdom of God here on Earth. On a day marked by a celebration of collaborative work in the diocese throughout the last 75 years to create a flourishing Catholic community dedicated to serving others, I was reminded of a heartening statement from St. Therese of Lisieux: “The world's thy ship and not thy home.”

As a Catholic teenager, I was filled with gratitude for the work of those who have gone before me to cultivate a thriving diocese. I was particularly struck by the sheer number of apostolates and sodalities -- organizations at work in Central Texas to serve the community from an unabashedly Catholic standpoint. Among these organizations are life centers, radio stations, marriage ministries and charities, all dedicated to spreading the mission of Christ, not just to believers, but to all.

I was encouraged and I encourage my fellow teenagers to seek out volunteer work with these organizations, as it will soon be our responsibility to be the next stewards of the Diocese of Austin. We must carry on the good work that has already been so beautifully modeled for us by our parents and elders.

As I left the anniversary Mass, I was inspired by the beauty of our faith and the way in which faith leads to peace and good works. It is my hope and my desire as a young Catholic to ensure that the coming years in the Diocese of Austin are every bit as fruitful as the last 75 years that we as a people have been blessed to enjoy.

Margaret Ellen Jackson is currently a high school student in Austin. She is a parishioner of St. John Neumann Parish in Austin.