Be Both Fruit and Light
By Penny Wiegert
A year ago it was common to hear someone wonder out loud when we as a society would see “light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.”  The light referred to in this phrase of course is hope and is a positive thing. 
And we can probably agree that we are currently in some of that positive light now after a year of isolation, cancellation and worry about sickness and death for our loved ones and ourselves. We now have vaccines and those being vaccinated against the virus continue to increase. 
Yes, light is a positive thing.  Usually when we talk about light it is in terms of illuminating things heretofore unseen. Light represents realization, clarity, awareness, awakening, and a new dawn for all things. 
The Bible mentions light in many ways more than 270 times. In fact, the Good Book opens with that very subject ... light. God first speaks in Genesis 1:3 and says “Let there be light.” God calls the light good and so begins creation. From there we read  in the scriptures, the other hundreds of declarations and even instruction for us throughout in regard to the goodness of light. The light in us, for us and from God.
That was part of The Observer’s call one year ago ... to be part of the light that was Good News for our parishes, our diocese and our faith. We wanted to provide some light for Catholic readers in the darkness of the pandemic even if they weren’t subscribers. We took down our online paywall so everyone could access the important information coming from our diocese in regard to health and safety precautions and guidelines in our churches and parish life.
More importantly though, we were compelled to give free access to The Observer’s  local Catholic inspiration and information.  Economically we will not be able to offer the content entirely free forever.
So if you are reading this or have read The Observer online, we hope you have enjoyed the columns, features and photographs from around our diocese provided to you despite the challenges of the pandemic.  We hope it has provided some light in your life.  To keep that light burning, we would appreciate you joining our family of subscribers. With your $28 subscription, you will always know there will be some Good News waiting for you every week without interruption. 
Of course after God created the light things really got busy as far as creation goes. All the creatures, water and plants came forth and all things began to bear fruit as God commanded.  Fruit, though not as popular a subject as light in the scriptures,  is mentioned some 60-plus times.  And part of that beautiful gift that is our faith gets unwrapped for us in Chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians when we are instructed that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”   These “fruits” are explained as the attributes of those who live in accord with the Holy Spirit. 
This year, our annual appeal uses the theme of fruit. The imagery of the vine and the branches is profound, and we can clearly understand how all things like seeds, branches, soil, and  light affect the goodness and bounty  in our lives and those around us. 
Each of us living in the light of Christ with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control can certainly bear fruit to benefit our parish, our diocese, those in need and the whole of God’s creation.
We hope you enjoy this issue of The Observer and experience a little of God’s light and fruit contained in these pages.