Friday, December 28, 2018


Bishop Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, has announced the appointment of Monsignor James P. Moroney as Interim Rector of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the Office for Divine Worship, effective January 1, 2019.  

Bishop McManus recalled “the sacrifice which the Diocese of Worcester has made in allowing one of its finest priests to serve as Rector of Saint John’s Seminary." He continued, “I am now grateful that his extraordinary pastoral leadership skills will once again be placed at the service of his home Diocese.” 

Monsignor Moroney served for the past six years as Rector of Saint John’s Seminary in Boston. During that time the Seminary experienced a significant increase in enrollment as many new seminarians entered through the work of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Vocations Office and four new sending Dioceses were added.  During Monsignor’s tenure the Seminary facilities were expanded, new faculty members were added and the Archdiocese established an affiliation between the Seminary and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas.

In August of 2018 Cardinal O’Malley and Monsignor Moroney mutually agreed that Monsignor would begin a sabbatical, in order to assure complete transparency for the process of a review concerning matters pertaining to St. John’s Seminary.  The Cardinal also held it unfortunate that there were reports that the sabbatical was prompted by complaints against Monsignor Moroney, noting that Monsignor had fulfilled his responsibilities very well as Rector.

Monsignor Moroney expressed his gratitude to Bishop McManus for his new assignment and for making him available for service to Saint John’s Seminary.  He also thanked Cardinal O’Malley for the privilege of serving as Rector. “Over the nearly forty years since my ordination,” he reflected “my single goal has been to be of whatever service to the Church I can. I am deeply grateful for my time at Saint John’s Seminary and look forward to serving the people of Worcester in the years to come.”

28 December 2018

Thank you...

Dear Loyal Readers,

Thanks for following the SJSRector Blog for the past six and a half years.  It has been an extraordinary privilege to be pastor of this Holy House in which God performs miracles in men’s hearts every day.

This morning Bishop McManus announced that I will be returning to Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester, and I look forward to this assignment with the same eager joy as I have for each new assignment I have received in my nearly forty years as a Priest.

Needless to say, I am sad to leave Saint John’s Seminary, but I will always carry the good men and women there in my heart and in my prayers.  

As you will recall, I went on sabbatical in August in order to assure a fully transparent Review of the Seminary in the light of allegations by two former seminarians.  I look forward to the results of that review and am sure the Seminary will be an even better place as a result of the recommendations of that Review.  I also want to make it clear that no one accused me of anything, and I leave Saint John’s Seminary proud of our many accomplishments.

This time on sabbatical, however, has given me the opportunity to reflect on many things, and I have come to the conclusion that many of the current administrative challenges and complex institutional relationships faced by Saint John’s Seminary demand a fresh approach and a renewed energy.  I will pray for my successor and I ask you to give him your unwavering support and every encouragement.

For you, and especially for each of you seminarians whom I have been privileged to call “My Lord,” I pray simply that the Lord might bring to completion what he has begun so well in your life.

Ironically, my last homily at the Seminary was on “Endings and Beginnings,” and my last Rector’s Conference was “On Leaving” and “On Professional Standards.”  Allow me to quote from what I said in that last Rector’s Conference, as I believe God may have been putting those words in my mouth then as a foreshadowing of my leave-taking now.

Few things in life are as tough as change and few changes are as tough as taking your leave. As a Priest, you will experience innumerable leave-takings, from deaths to transfers. And each leave-taking is a rehearsal for the next and a preparation for that final leave-taking which is your death, that complete letting go, when you will be called to let yourself fall into the arms of God in a final great kenotic imitation of Christ upon his cross….

Sometimes those deaths, big or small, happen in a seminary, which is, by definition a place of formation and discernment. Sometimes those leave takings are the result of long days of wrestling in a seminarian’s heart. Sometimes they come from Bishops or rectors or faculty councils. But always they are painful, both for the man packing his bag and for the ones he leaves behind. For you see, leave-taking is never a solitary act. It deeply affects an entire community of people…

In fact, no one leaves as often as the diocesan priest. In the beginning you get transferred a lot because you need a lot of experience. And while I never really believed it when I was sitting where you are, there is nothing like experience. And then you get moved for all kinds of other reasons, some of which will make sense to you and some of which will not. But in obedience you go and do whatever he tells you, ever cognizant of what you said when you knelt before the bishop and placed your life in his hands.

I left my first parish after burying my first pastor, who dropped dead at the end of a parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Then I went as an associate to Father Bill O'Brien at Saint Leo's in Leominster, then off to Catholic University for a year. I came back as an associate to two parishes in Spencer and was then named pastor there. After the two parishes were joined, I went to the Bishops' Conference for thirteen years to run the Liturgy shop. I left there to become Rector at Saint Paul's Cathedral in Worcester, and now, here I am as your Rector.

That's a lot of moving (an average of once every five years) and a lot of people to say good-bye to. But as the contact list on my iPhone will tell you, I keep in touch with some. But the leaving is never easy.

It's never easy because you have become their father and you have witnessed them at their very best and their very worst. You are there when they are perfect reflections of Christ's love and when they have been hateful and vengeful and spiteful. Like any good shepherd you know and love your sheep. You may not always like them all, but you love them so much that you are willing to lay down your life for them.

And so leaving a parish can be very, very hard. For when you leave, the tears and the smiles will make something very clear. That some have loved you and through your personality, your actions and your good self, Christ was able to touch their lives. And that some have not been fully appreciative of your presence and are more grateful at your going away than your arriving…

And it is good to change assignments. Change reassures us that we are not God, but only an unworthy servant doing whatever he gives us to do, for whatever time he chooses, through the wisdom of the Bishop. Change is good for you and for me, for each time I have been transferred I leave behind my successes, but I also leave behind my failures which, by the grace of God and the fading of the memory, will slowly disappear…

Leaving and arriving and leaving again. Saying yes to it, opening your arms to it, accepting whatever he sends your way. That’s doing the will of God, and what more could we ever ask for?

Oh, and by the way, as God has taught me every time, leaving is usually just a prelude to a happy ending. Even when it’s sad.

The Press Release announcing my new assignment will be the last post to this blog.  At the same time, my new blog ( and twitter feed (@msgrmoroney) are already live, and you are welcome to join me there if you wish to share in all that God continues to have in store for me in this next chapter of my Priesthood.

In the Lord,

Monsignor James P. Moroney

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Honoring Alice Driscoll

Last week I was delighted to attend a luncheon with Cardinal O'Malley honoring Alice Driscoll and her family at the Pastoral center. Alice and her late husband Roland, God rest his soul, have been among our most generous benefactors and it was a great joy to join Alice and her family for this celebratory meal.

Happy Birthday Kevin!

One of our dedicated Trustees recently celebrated his 60th birthday! 

Here, Kevin Mulkern is pictured with his son Sean and his daughter Shannon at festivities commemorating the occasion!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Seminarians Beneath the Falls...

Seminarians Patrick O’Connor, Nick Stano, Colin McNab and Alex Boucher recently braved Niagra Falls on the same day as Nick’s Birthday. All our brothers are taking advantage of the last days of summer vacation before the new men arrive in a little over three weeks from now!

Monday, July 30, 2018

On Loaves and Fishes

Here is the homily I preached this weekend at Saint Patrick's Parish in Hampton Beach.

How hungry we are! How way down deep inside the hunger gnaws at us! We call it emptiness, loneliness, isolation or pain. We call it fear, depression, confusion or loss. We call it seeking, grasping, despair or need.

But whatever the name, it is the same. A deep gaping pain, like a black hole of fear that threatens to eat us alive. And especially on some days, we are tempted to quiet the beast with all kinds of perverse delights, passing pleasures to calm the soul and quiet the ache.

Sometimes we choose power as our balm while at other times we embrace money or chemicals or sex. Sometimes we bask in satisfactions of reputation or prestige, while at others we build castles of self-indulgence and self-congratulation.

The snake oil salesmen of sin offers many a remedy for the pains of life, though each, at the end of the day, but deepens the hurt, extends the alienation, and leaves us alone and hurting and desperately sad.

But only One satisfies, One who is a he and not a thing, One through whom all was made. One who died and rose, destroying death. One who waits for you here on this altar. One who waits with the life-giving drink that quenches every thirst and the bread that takes away all hunger. He waits for you.

You who have tried it all…experimentum ad absurdum. You whose trail of sin and self-exploitation looks back on broken relationships, broken promises, and bleeding hearts… He waits for you, with his bleeding Sacred Heart. He waits to bleed for you, to die for you, and through offering you a chalice of himself to make you like himself: a Victim for the world who loves the least as he first loved us. He waits for you.

And you who left the practice of the faith out of boredom or resentment or offense, you who sometimes turn the channel to the Mass out of a curious nostalgia, seeking a combination of infomercial and local news: He waits for you! He knows your name, and he calls to you from this altar to receive from the hands of the apostles and their helpers the bread which he has broken, which is the Body of the Lord, offered to give you strength for the journey. He calls you to this altar to come without money and be filled. He waits for you.

And You whose sin has kept you away…he calls you too…To lay upon this altar with those gifts of bread and wine the futility of your best efforts, the brokenness of your fears, and the stupidity of your narcissism. He is waiting here for you…he whose body was broken like the hosts he longs to place in your hands….that by his brokenness you might be healed.

You who have grown old and bent, who are tired of fearing pain and dreading death, who long for relief and are desperate for hope. He waits for you! He took your pain upon his shoulders with arms nailed to a cross, a pierced heart and a crown of thorns. He longs to gather your pain to his and to transform it by his Passion, to redeem your sufferings in the Paschal sacrifice of this Altar. For the bread of life is a healing remedy unto eternal life and the cup of salvation the Blood of the Lord which makes us ever young in him. He waits for you!

He waits for you, this Jesus, this Christ, this good shepherd, this way, this truth, this life waits for you no matter your pain, no matter your fear, no matter your sin or excuses. He waits for you.

All you who are heavily burdened, he waits for you, and looks upon you with pity, as upon sheep without a shepherd, and he says to me and to my brother priests: Do not send them away, but gather them to me around this altar and give to them the bread that I break and they will be filled.

So come home for supper….come home to God…come home and eat well the bread of angels. For the real miracle of the multiplication of the loaves was not that Jesus once fed so many men upon a hill in Galilee. The real miracle is that he feeds me and you today and that he calls everyone who hears my voice a Holy Communion with him that he might live in you and you in him.

That you might know the peace which his world cannot give: He waits for you.

Choral music from Renaissance Spain

Our annual Early Music Academy is taking place in the halls of Saint John's Seminary this week.  It concludes with a concert of Choral Music From Renaissance Spain on Friday night.  All our friends are welcome to attend this wonderful event!