As part of a special new year’s series for the Catholic Standard newspaper and website of the Archdiocese of Washington on “Seeing 2020 with eyes of faith,” Catholics from across the archdiocese representing different ages and backgrounds were asked, “How will you deepen your faith and draw closer to Jesus in the new year?”

The following are comments offered from the perspective of  a woman religious, several priests, a deacon, a bishop and a seminarian.

“To be holy is to love as God loves.  This new year I will ask God for the grace to deepen my understanding of His love that reigns from His Son on the Cross.  I hope to grow in this love of Christ by loving my sisters and all the members of the Church more and more every day.  Servant of God Dorothy Day would say, ‘I really only love God as much as the person I love the least.’  Daily, I hope to examine and ask myself, using the words of St. Ignatius: ‘What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?’” – Sister Mariam Annai Vailankanni D'Souza, a member of  the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, serves in the Archdiocese of Washington’s Office of Missions as the Missionary Childhood Coordinator and Missionary Co-operative Coordinator.  She assists educating children and adults about the missions and telling them how they can help the missions.  She also coordinates missionaries from other countries who come to make mission appeals in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Father Bill Byrne, the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac, Maryland, speaks at the Oct. 13 dedication for the James M. Sullivan Memorial House serving three young women with developmental differences. The home is located on part of the parish campus near Our Lady of Mercy Church and School and the Byron House assisted living facility for the frail elderly. (CS photo/Mihoko Owada)

“20/20 vision requires that you keep you eyes open.  I will be on the lookout for Christ in every person I meet.” – Father Bill Byrne, pastor, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Potomac, Maryland.

Father Carter Griffin serves as the rector of the Archdiocese of Washington’s Saint John Paul II Seminary. (Archdiocese of Washington photo)

“This is the year when I’d like to make big strides in trusting God more.  Like many others, I have a tendency to trust myself first, and only reluctantly  usually when forced by circumstances do I release my grip and hand it over to God.  I want to trust Him when things are hard – when I experience setback, failure, tragedy, sickness, or betrayal.  I also, however, want to trust Him when things are easy – which for me is much more difficult!  That is how I’d like to draw closer to Jesus this year.” – Father Carter Griffin, rector, Saint John Paul II Seminary, Washington, D.C.

Msgr. John Enzler, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, greets guests at Catholic Charities’ Christmas dinner for those in need, held on Dec. 18, 2019 at the agency’s headquarters in downtown Washington. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

“My biggest struggle/ resolution each and every year is to become more committed to my prayer life. I do consider my charitable work as a form of prayer, but I would love to find a way to be more quiet in the Lord’s presence daily.”  Msgr. John J. Enzler, president and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

At left, Father Dan Leary, pastor of St. Andrew Apostle Parish in Silver Spring, speaks with Yvonne Carrera after the parish and school surprised her family on Dec. 20 with  a handicapped accessible van. At right are her parents, Francisco and Santa Carrera with three of her siblings, along with Father Mario Majano, a parochial vicar at St. Andrew. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

“For me, this year brings a new beginning. Every year that God gives me is a chance to make one more step for Jesus in serving the parish, the poor and those that He brings to me…2020 should be the time to unleash the graces of the Holy Spirit to bring healing to the ends of the diocese and beyond.” – Father Dan Leary, pastor, St. Andrew Apostle Parish, Silver Spring 

Deacon Desmond Yorke serves at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Riverdale Park, Maryland. (courtesy photo)

My goal is to increase the presence of Christ in our community. This challenge requires a deeper experience in the knowledge of Christ. You cannot give something that you do not have. If you try to give something that you do not have, you will end up inevitably giving yourself and not Christ. I will spend more time, in silent adoration, before the Blessed Sacrament seeking to discover Christ anew.”  – Deacon Desmond Yorke serves at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Riverdale Park, Maryland, where his ministry includes participating in the religious education and RCIA programs. Deacon Yorke also preaches at Masses there and visits parishioners who are sick in hospitals and nursing homes. 

Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville helps lead the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Walk with Mary procession on Dec. 14, 2019 honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

“Faith is defined as the belief of what we do not see. However, our Lord Jesus Christ has so many ways to show us His face, His will, and His message in our lives. I will always recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in the many encounters that I will have in this new year. Each is an opportunity to deepen my faith and get closer to Jesus Christ. His face is reflected in our children, our youth, our immigrant communities, our seminarians and priests and religious sisters, and so many others.” – Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville

“In the new year, I want to make sure I take time each evening to review my day and ask God to show me where he was in the midst of it. Too often I become absorbed with my work and responsibilities and fail to recognize the presence of God in daily life. Yet, He is there, and He wants to bless me through what can seem mundane and ordinary.”  Ryan Braam, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington, is studying at Theological College