In a wide-ranging interview with the Catholic Herald on May 8, Bishop Donald J. Hying addressed a variety of topics ranging from humor to his continuing ministerial efforts.
In his words:
Importance of a sense of humor
“It’s absolutely critical, because humor allows us to look at things from a healthy
detachment and laugh at ourselves, not to take ourselves quite as seriously as we’re tempted to.”
“It also reminds us that Christianity is essentially comic because we believe in happy endings; the ultimate happy ending is the Resurrection and eternal life.”
Why God might be laughing at him
“I just feel God puts me in crazy situations at times and just sits back and thinks, ‘OK, let’s see what he
‘Best part of being a bishop’
There is no hesitation when Bishop Donald J. Hying is asked what he enjoys most about being a bishop.
“I always say at confirmation that celebrating confirmation is the best part about being a bishop. And I sincerely mean that. I love reading the letters. I love meeting the young people,” he said.
Bishop Hying said that when he was ordained a priest – “When you’re prostrate on the floor during the Litany of the Saints, I figure God’s going to give you whatever you ask for at that moment,” he interjected – he asked for grace that he would always be faithful to priesthood and never leave, and that, celebrating Mass particularly would never become dull or repetitive.
“Both of them have been answered,” he said. “I would extend that second one out to confirmation. Every confirmation is a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a new experience of God in these particular people.”
The bishop noted that the confirmands are filled with idealism and energy, and a willingness to be in communion with others and to serve the poor.
“The challenge is how do we hold young people from the point of when they are confirmed to when they come to get married and start their families? Because they have this intense experience in their confirmation preparation, they consistently name the retreat and their service projects as kind of a transformational moment,” he said.
Noting that for these young adults, “faith has to be experiential to be real,” Bishop Hying sees a challenge the church must address.
“Once they become seniors in high school and go off to college, where do they have those experiences? How do you find a community that is going to support you?” he said.
does in this situation or with these people.’ And good comes out of that. To find joy in that, even when it’s difficult, is a real grace.”
Still being called ‘Father’
“Most people still call me ‘Fr. Don,’ because that’s how they know me, and that’s fine; I’m more comfortable with that anyway.”
Getting used to being called ‘Bishop’
“I always think they’re talking about somebody else.”
Emmaus Gospel as theme of ministry
“For me, ministry has always been very personal and a sense of accompanying people.”
“That’s why the Gospel about the road to Emmaus has been a pivotal theme of my attempts to pastorally serve other people – the sense of walking with them, listening to them, holding up the Paschal Mystery as the way for them to understand their own experience.”
On continuing his work with pro-life groups and the St. Vincent de Paul Society
“Both are very important to me because they’re very important to the church. Jesus’ ministry to the marginalized, people who lived on the fringe, always seems to be the essence of the Gospel.”
“So the church duplicates that concern. There is no one more vulnerable than the unborn, but also the poor and the sick and unemployed and the homeless; that’s the beauty of the church’s consistent ethic of life.”