Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Amazing Manchester Vocation Pilgrimage

More than twelve hundred pilgrims joined Bishop Libasci and the seminarians of Manchester on Thursday for a Mass at Saint Anne’s Church and a procession through the streets of Berlin, New Hampshire.  I was privileged to be present for this extraordinary event in a town which is the home to ten percent of the priests of Manchester and a parish which boasts over 250 vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Bishop Libasci recalled in his homily how as a child he always thrilled at going to “grandma’s house” and sharing in the treasures she kept in her cupboard.  “Today, on this feast of Saint Anne, we have come back to grandma’s house,” he proclaimed, and the treasures in her cupboard are the faith, hope and love which give birth to vocations in Christ.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

With the Serrans this week...

Serra.  It’s the name of the missionary Saint, Junipero Serra, on whose feast day I first became rector of Saint John’s Seminary, just three weeks ago.  

It’s also the name taken by an international group of Catholic lay men and women who first met in 1935 to foster vocations and to support Priests.  Today, there are more than six hundred Serra clubs and more than 23,000 members in thrity-one countries.

This past week I was thrilled to spend some time with the Serra Clubs of Boston and Southern Worcester County.  The Boston club meets at Saint Mary’s in Waltham, where I concelebrated Mass with Father Dan Hennessey, Boston’s Vocation Director.  Thanks to the kindness of Loretta Gallagher, President of Boston Serra, I was able to share some of the great things happening at Saint John’s these days.  And I hear that next month, our own Patrick Fiorillo will be leading a delegration of our semianrians to Serra Boston.

The President of Serra of Southern Worcester County, Stephen Kohut, graciously hosted a cookout for the Serrans and Worcester Seminarians at his house in Webster.  Although I'm not sure you can really call it a cookout when the entree is stuffed pork!  Bishop McManus and Father Jim Mazzone, Worcester’s Vocation Director, were on hand for that event.  A good time was had by all! Thanks for your generosity, Steve!

As the Serrans pray for us at Saint John’s Seminary, let us pray in gratitude to God for all of them and for all they do for us.  Perhaps you might join me in praying daily for all our benefactors with this simple prayer which has long found a place in the back of my Prayer Book:

Reward those who have been good to us
for the sake of your name, O Lord,
and given them eternal life with you,
who live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pilgrimage to Berlin, New Hampshire

I’ve been looking forward for some time to attending the last of the QUO VADIS DAYS in Berlin, New Hampshire on the evening of July 26th, the Feast of Saint Anne.  So many vocations have come to the Church in New Hampshire through Saint Anne of the Good Shepherd Parish in Berlin that I can’t wait to see first hand the faith which so effectively noursihes tomorrow’s shepherds.

The Manchester QUO VADIS DAYS are “a time of prayer, fellowship, recreation, and discussion to help young men explore the Lord’s call in their life.”  The Berlin Pilgrimage is the culminating event of these days and begins with a candlelight vigil prayer service on Wednesday Night.  Wucharistic Adoration and veneration of the Relic of Saint Anne continue throughout the day on Thursday.  There’s an organ concert at 1:30pm, followed by Mass and a Eucharistic Procession led by Bishop Libasci.  For a complete schedule click here.

Each of the Dioceses and religious communities we serve promote vocations in so many wonderful ways.  That’s the reason we’re expecting twenty-seven new men at Saint John’s Seminary this Fall!   

And that’s why every member of our community should join me in saying a prayer of thanksgiving for Bishop Libasci, Father Jalbert, Father Sledziona, and all those who work so hard to encourage men to answer the Lord’s call.

SJS servers back up!

Thanks to Karlo, the SJS servers are all back on line!  Thanks for your patience!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The largest seminary in the most Catholic State...

A new survey by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies has declared that Massachusetts is the most Catholic State in our country.  In the Commonwealth 44.9% of the the citizens self-identify as Catholics.  So I guess that makes us the largest seminary in the most Catholic State!  For a summary of the study, click here.  For a summary at the Huffington Post, click here


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Short Homily for the Feast of Saint Benedict

One of Saint Benedict’s favorite sayings was actually stolen from Saint Augustine: “Let pleasure be taken not in commanding but in being of service.”  That’s just another way for the “master in the school of divine service” to say what the Collect attributes to him this morning: ‘Lord, I put nothing before love of you.”
The Pope, whose nameday we celebrate today, said much the same thing this past Good Friday.  Speaking of the relic of the seamless garment of our Lord on display in the Cathedral of Trier, the Holy Father proposed a patristic analogy between the seamless garment and the unity of the Church, a unity too often wounded by “our selfishness, our weaknesses and [our] mistakes...” driven by the corrosive effect of the narcissistic “gotcha” mentality so prevelant in the blogosphere, in politics, and even in the Church
But as the Responsorial reminds us, no matter how hard we try God foils the designs of the peoples, and brings to nought the plans of the nations.  Only God’s plan stands for ever. Not ours.  Only Gods.  
So, on this feast of Saint Benedict, let us root out from our hearts all traces of selfishness and nacissitic individualism, of rivalry, resentment, or hate.   Let us beg the mercy of God, and put nothing before Love of him and his Church.
Monsignor James P. Moroney

Monday, July 9, 2012

St. Rafael Guízar Valencia on Seminaries

Bishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles recently gave a talk on Seminary formation in a multicultural context.  For the complete text click here.  Here's an excerpt of Saint Rafael and his secret Seminary!
I have special devotion to St. Rafael Guízar Valencia. He was also a bishop. In fact, he became the first bishop born in the Americas to be made a saint.
During the persecution, the government forced St. Rafael to shut down his seminary. So he did what he was told. At least on the surface. What he really did was start an “underground” seminary.
For the next 15 years, he ran this secret seminary. It was the only seminary in the whole country. He formed more than 300 priests. These priests, through heroic charity and sacrifices, risked their lives to keep the faith alive in Mexico in a very dark time.
St. Rafael said: “A bishop can do without the miter, the crosier and even without the cathedral. But he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his diocese depends on it.”
I’ve always taken his words seriously in my apostolic ministry as a bishop.
As I see it, there is no more important work in the Church today than the spiritual preparation of men for the priesthood. So the work you are doing is absolutely crucial to the Church’s mission. To the mission of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Jose Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angelese

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Feast of Saint Maria Goretti
Directors' Meeting
Theological Institute for the New Evangelization
What can send us to hell?
An absolutely dreadful question, especially at 8:30 in the morning, but one which the Church answers in a definitive way on the feast of Saint Maria Goretti.
What can send us to hell?  The Lie.
Martyrdom is the exact opposite of the lie.
The truth for which Maria Goretti died is dignitatis humanae, it is the truth of the very meaning of human existence: that we were made for love, to reflect the very image and likeness of God.
And when Alessandro Serenelli threatened the eleven year old Maria with death if she would not let him rape her, she chose to die rather than to tell the lie that violence is love, that pleasure is truth, and that we can change the definitions which God has divinely revealed.
The Lord Jesus preaches truth.  He is the truth.
In all things, veritas.
The Second way to go to hell is not to love.
To seek to “destroy the poor of the land!” To diminish the containers for measuring, to add to the weights, and fix our scales for cheating!”
We will buy the lowly man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!"
Now, none of us would ever do that.  Purposefully cheat the poor.  Indeed, most of us would feed the poor man, give the coat off our backs to the shivering bum, and occasionally bring a group of parishioners to a soup kitchen.
But, isn’t it funny, we professionally religious folks tend to see the poor in places others miss, but often forget the poor in places others see.
Read the religious blogs written by people just like us.  The snide snarkiness, the gossipy pettiness, the insecurity and jealousy.  All while writing about religion..  A religion that teaches us to pray, forgive us as I forgave her.  Love me as I have loved him.
The Lord Jesus preaches love.  He is love.
In all things caritas
And the third paving stone to hell is despair.
Here are the Pharisees, professionally religious like you and me (with pay checks from the RCAB to prove it) and they encounter the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  And how do they react?  Can’t possibly be the Messiah, because he eats with sinners!  God couldn't’ possibly work through someone like that.  Unless he looks like me, and talks like me, reads the same blogs and clings to the same presuppositions as me, he can’t possibly be of God!
It’s the despair so prevalent among us today, that laments, It’ll never get better,  they will always disappoint and we preach in a dark valley..
But The Lord Jesus preaches hope.  He is hope.
In all things spes.
Verritas, caritas and spes.
What is this Theological Institute, these degrees and certificates, or even this seminary in the end.  What’s our real purpose.  What really sets us apart?
It’s kinda simple really.  The whole purpose behind all of this is simply to help people to go to heaven.  And we do it by teaching veritas, caritas and spes.
We teach it by all the courses in the catalog.  We teach it by encouraging people to be good Catholics.  We teach it by the pastoral experiences we provide them.
But most of all we teach it by the way we live.  By the way we treat our students.  By the way we treat our families and our friends.  By the way we treat each other.
In all things veritas
In all things caritas
In all things spes.
It’s like Chaucer wrote of the good parson:
First he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Christe’s lore and his Apostles twelve he taught.
But first he followed it himself.
Monsignor James P. Moroney

Calvary shines through the night...

I have always admired the wonderful set of statues which form Calvary on the hill outside the Chapel here at Saint John's Seminary. Thanks to Bobby Manley and his great team of electricians (who are updating the lighting in the Chapel with Rohn Design) the lights which shine on the Crucifixtion scene at night are working once again. What a great place to pray Night Prayer!

It brings to mind the hymn which we use for the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, the Crux Fidelis (Faithful Cross). We’ve been singing it since Venantius Fortunatus wrote it in the sixth century.

And thanks to father Derek Borek for this great photo!

Faithful Cross the Saints rely on, Noble tree beyond compare! Never was there such a scion, Never leaf or flower so rare. Sweet the timber, sweet the iron, Sweet the burden that they bear!

1. Sing, my tongue, in exultation Of our banner and device! Make a solemn proclamation Of a triumph and its price: How the Savior of creation Conquered by his sacrifice!

2. For, when Adam first offended, Eating that forbidden fruit, Not all hopes of glory ended With the serpent at the root: Broken nature would be mended By a second tree and shoot.

3. Thus the tempter was outwitted By a wisdom deeper still: Remedy and ailment fitted, Means to cure and means to kill; That the world might be acquitted, Christ would do his Father’s will.

4. So the Father, out of pity For our self-inflicted doom, Sent him from the heavenly city When the holy time had come: He, the Son and the Almighty, Took our flesh in Mary’s womb. 

5. Hear a tiny baby crying, Founder of the seas and strands; See his virgin Mother tying Cloth around his feet and hands; Find him in a manger lying Tightly wrapped in swaddling-bands!

6. So he came, the long-expected, Not in glory, not to reign; Only born to be rejected, Choosing hunger, toil and pain, Till the scaffold was erected And the Paschal Lamb was slain.

7. No disgrace was too abhorrent: Nailed and mocked and parched he died; Blood and water, double warrant, Issue from his wounded side, Washing in a mighty torrent Earth and stars and oceantide.

8. Lofty timber, smooth your roughness, Flex your boughs for blossoming;Let your fibers lose their toughness, Gently let your tendrils cling; Lay aside your native gruffness, Clasp the body of your King! 

9. Noblest tree of all created, Richly jeweled and embossed: Post by Lamb’s blood consecrated; Spar that saves the tempest-tossed; Scaffold-beam which, elevated, Carries what the world has cost!

10. Wisdom, power, and adoration To the blessed Trinity For redemption and salvation Through the Paschal Mystery, Now, in every generation, And for all eternity. Amen.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Some changes are under way beginning this week in facilities at the Seminary:  
Room 116 (previously Fr. Riley’s Office) will be divided into two offices: one for Fr. Pignato (Human Formation) and one for Mrs. Kriz (Exec Asst. to Rector).
Room 122 (currently Fr. Salocks’ Office) will become a file room for the Rector’s Office.
Room 123 (currently Fr. O’Connor’s Office) will become the Office of Fr. Riley (Dean of Men)
Room 130 (currently Mrs. Kriz’s and secretaries’ Offices) will become the Vice Rector’s Office
Room 136 (Currently Mrs. DeBernardi’s Office and part time secretarial) will become Fr. VandeMoortell’s Office (Director of Intellectual Formation) and Mrs. Debernardi’s Office (Registrar)
The present Copy Room will become an office for the part time secretaries, while the copy machine has been moved to a space just outside the Business Office.  The Linen Room will become the Adjunct Spiritual Directors Room, while linens will be located in a cabinet in the corridor.
A new Faculty Conference Room is being added to the Rectory and Bishop Kennedy, who will have offices at the Pastoral Center and at TINE, is moving into his new apartment right next door to the Rector’s apartment.


I am pleased to report that Cardinal O’Malley has confirmed the following appointments, at my recommendation and in accord with our Statutes:
Father O’Connor as Vice Rector, for a term of three years
Father Barber, as Spiritual Director, for a term of three years
Father Scorzello, as Director of Pre-Theology, for a term of three years
Father Vandemoortell, as Director of Intellectual Formation and Dean of Faculty, for a term of three years
Father Riley, as Director of Pastoral Formation and Dean of Men, for a term of three years
Father Pignato, as Director of Human Formation, for a term of three years
Father Borek, as Associate Spiritual Director, for a term of three years
Father Merdinger, as Associate Spiritual Director, for a term of one year
Finally, I have appointed Father Cessario as Theological Advisor to the Rector, for a term of three years
As you may already know, we also have news regarding new faculty.  Father Dennis McManus is joining the residential faculty as a professor of Sacred Liturgy.  He will also be working with Father Scorzello throughout this first semester with to view to his eventually assuming the role of Director of Sacred Liturgy.  I am very grateful to Father Scorzello for his years of service in coordinating the Seminary Liturgies, but in view of the extraordinary demands on his teaching and formation work have will be moving these responsibilities over to Father McManus.
We also have several new Adjunct professors joining us this fall, including Father Robert Reed of Catholic TV who will introduce a new course entitled “Introduction to Evangelization” which will be taught at the Catholic TV studios and include everything from public speaking skills to an introduction to new media.  Father Mark O’Connell  and Father James Conn, SJ will also be joining us to teach core and elective courses in Canon Law.
I am also delighted to report that Bishop Kennedy has hired Sister Jeanmarie Gribaudo, SSJ to work at TINE.  Speaking of TINE, please keep us in your prayers as we embark on a full day of planning meetings this week. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"the pastor of the seminary community..."

My Dear Brothers and Friends,
As I begin my service as your rector, I reflect this morning on the wise words of the Program of Priestly Formation:
“The rector, always a priest, serves as the pastor of the seminary community.  He sets the direction and tone of the seminary program. By creating a climate of mutual confidence and trust, he elicits the full cooperation and involvement of faculty and students...
“The rector serves as chief administrative officer and principal agent responsible for the implementation of the seminary program. He should also maintain close contact with the bishops and religious ordinaries of the dioceses and religious institutes or societies that the seminary serves. In addition, he is often responsible for public relations and development, though he may delegate these tasks to others. Although these duties may call him away from the seminary, it is important that the rector serve as leader of the internal life of the seminary both as pastor and priestly model.
“The spiritual and personal welfare of faculty and students is a central responsibility of the rector. Regularly, the rector should give conferences to the seminary community. He should frequently preside at prayer and at the Eucharist.
“As provided for other members of the faculty, the rector should be carefully prepared in sound doctrine, suitable pastoral experience and special spiritual and pedagogical training. The rector should be a model of priestly virtue, able to live himself the qualities he encourages in students. A man of sound and prudent judgment, the rector should give evidence to a love of and dedication to the Church’s service.”
Program of Priestly Formation for the Dioceses of the United States of America [fifth edition] nos. 318-322, excerpted.
Pray that God might give me the grace to be a good rector. a good pastor to you all.
Monsignor Moroney