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From the Bishop
      Oct. 20, 2017

Bishop Davies Requiem Homily

October 21, 2011
Church of the Good Shepherd, Granbury 

The Biblical image foremost in our minds today is that of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep. He is the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm, who leads and guides us, who gives us food and drink to nourish and strengthen us.  His rod and his staff comfort and defend us in the midst of our enemies, and because he walks with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death, we are not fearful, but courageous and hopeful. He is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25), who by his death and resurrection has conquered sin, death, and the grave.

From the earliest days of the Christian Church, Bishops were referred to as shepherds and pastors. They were to tend the flock of Christ entrusted to their care. The duty of the episcopos – the overseer – translated bishop – was to guard, protect, nurture and guide the People of God, in a shepherding ministry, directly under Jesus Himself, the Chief Shepherd of the Church.

From apostolic times, down to the present day, Bishops, as successors to apostles, are to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” – to hand on to others what they have received. They are our Fathers in God, and we look up to them for sound doctrine, inspiration, leadership, an example in godly living, and when needed – correction and admonition, in the Name of the Lord.

Today we celebrate the life and ministry of a faithful apostolic Bishop who modeled all these things for over 50 years of ordained ministry. As the First Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, A. Donald Davies will always have a special place in our hearts and memories. I always called him “Numero Uno.” Though many of our younger clergy never knew Bishop Davies, there are plenty of stories that still go around about him and his ministry.  One only needs to read the story that Suzanne Gill has posted about him on the diocesan website to realize what a uniquely gifted man he was and what a fascinating, rich ministry he had over the decades.

Those who knew him will remember him as “man’s man,” a no-nonsense kind of leader who knew how to get things done, and inspired people to follow his lead.  The saying comes to mind, “either lead, follow, or get out of the way!” He was gregarious, aggressive, strong and firm. He was a decision maker, a man of action, as well as deep faith and conviction. There was a spark about him. And undergirding all of this, he was firmly committed to the historic faith and order of the Catholic Church, grounded in the authority of Holy Scripture, as the Word of God, and the Apostolic Tradition of the “Faith once delivered to the saints.”

As a diocese we are the beneficiaries of his courage, his obedience, and his vision.  And now we give him back to God who gave him to us, with joyful and grateful hearts. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed thru the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.