Monday, January 28, 2013

Hartford Confessors' Workshop

I was honored to be with the priests of the Archdiocese of Hartford a few days ago to share some reflections on the ministry of Confessor.  If you would like a PDF copy of my slides, please click here and here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Marching for Life

"It's not just the lucidity of our arguments, but the effect our words have on others...Our task is to present the truth with civility, empathy and clarity. Being compassionate about the Gospel of life is about building a new civilization with love."  - Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM, Cap.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day of Prayer and Penance for Life - A Homily

Not every President has done it.  Teddy Roosevelt dropped the line and so did the son of John Adams.  But yesterday (and the day before) President Obama took the oath of office as given by the Constitution and added the words “so help me God.”

Why did the President of the most powerful nation on earth add the words “so help me God.”  It is an acknowledgement, first uttered by our first President that the origin of every just law, every good governance is God.

Now you expect me to lament how a government which pledges that it lives under God has violated the fifth commandment fifty five million times in the forty years since Roe v Wade.  You expect I will make an oblique reference to our pilgrimage on Friday and maybe even repeat how the press perennially underreports how many of us are there.  Perhaps I might even make sarcastic reference to the politicians who give lip service to Life in his campaign and then nothing ever changes....Etc. Etc. Etc.

And it's all true and it would have made a pretty good, if mostly political homily.  But I don’t want to talk about the President or the Supreme Court or a political act, as important as all of that is.  I want to talk about us. For if the origin of just laws is in God, the origin of evil is in the human heart.  Not just in their hearts, but in ours as well.

Why does a mother kill her child?   How can a Father walk with his beloved into an abortion clinic?  Is it just that they are evil and we are good?  Or is there a log we need to remove from our own eyes before we can preach effectively to them?

Think of the mother and father who are about to abort their child.  Did they set out to kill?  No.  They will tell you they set out to solve a problem in their lives, a big problem which they see has financial, social, and maybe even career implications.  And like every problem, they look for an effective solution that will make it go away.

They fail to see that the child they carry, no matter how troublesome, is not a problem but a person, not a thing to be disposed of but a human being to be loved.

And I wonder whether we cannot be guilty of the same.  When we hear the President loudly defending the right of a mother to take the life of her child, do we demonize and dismiss him?  Do we treat him as a problem to be solved, with no redeeming value, entirely dismissive of his every action and every word, rather than a person with dignity and value to be loved?

And when we see the small band of counter-demonstrators who gather in a tight circle outside the Supreme Court each year standing for a woman’s right to abortion, do we see them as problems to be solved, political operatives to be removed from the equation or as people to be loved?

When we answer our enemies with sarcasm or disdain, dismissing them as evil things that besmirch our perfect vision, we act from the same dark reservoir of selfishness from which the most dedicated abortionist draws his power.

We’re better than that. We stand for life.  We march for life.  We pray for life.  With our last breath we will defend every human life from conception to natural death.

But that includes the life each Supreme Court Justice, and the Director of NARAAL, and even the religious sister who naively supports abortion.

Remember Jesus with the woman at the well?  He spoke the truth and invited her to conversion, but he did so with a love for her more tangible than any love she had ever felt before.

When God works an end to this slaughter, which in his good time he will, it will be through love, and respect for the dignity of every human person...even the one against whose ways I help me God.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Praying and Marching for Life...

The SJS Banner sits in the second floor hallway, ready to make the train trip to Washington D.C. for the March for Life on Friday.  This is a real week for life with the National Day of Prayer and Penance for Life on Tuesday. 

Several weeks ago I spoke at a Communion Breakfast for Women Affirming Life and spoke about praying for life.  I've received a number of requests for the slides from this presentation and so I offer them here for your reflection.  To download a PDF copy of the slides, just click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bless me, Father.... Rector's Conference IV

The hardest thing I had to get used to after my ordination, thirty-three years ago, was being called “Father.”  Good morning, Father.  Bless me, Father.  Would you like fries with that, Father?

Why do they do that?  There’s no canon which prescribes the title.  No book of manners which recommends it.  People just do it.  Say it, “Father, come anoint my mother.”

I suppose in these days I am particularly attuned to the name father, as I have been these past months with the one who first taught me its meaning.  At one meeting with hospice workers last month my father introduced me as Father Moroney, my son.  The slightly confused health care worker looked at me and said “you’re both his son and his father?”

And I have been his father when I’ve said Mass by his bed and his son when I recalled the days when he first taught me to make the sign of the cross.  Son and Father.  Father and Son.

Why do we call the priest father
Saint Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, establishes the priest’s paternity when he writes:“Through the Gospel, I became your father.”  Through Christ, who has made him an adopted son, the Apostle Paul becomes the Father of the Gentiles and the father of all who will be formed by the Gospel he proclaims.

That is why St. Benedict, in an early version of his rule, prescribes the title “father” for all confessors, since they are the guardians of souls and uses the more intimate form (Abba or Abbot) for the spiritual fathers of his monasteries.  

Similarly, the Greek pappa (a good translation of abba) was used for Bishops early on, although it becomes used almost exclusively for the Bishop of Rome from the time of Pope Leo the Great.

More deeply into the Middle ages, the mendicant friars, mainly Franciscans and Dominicans, came to be called Father; for like a Father they taught and took care of the spiritual and even physical needs of their children.

Prior to the Reformation, parish priests were generally called Sir in the English-speaking world, an equivalent of Senor, meaning senior or elder...not a bad rendering of presbyter.  After the Reformation, most Catholic priests in the English-speaking world adopted the title Father.  Since most of the priests in the New World were Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit missionaries, this title came to be extended even to secular Priests working in the parishes of the New World.

At the same time, the title Father was taking on currency among the post-Reformation Catholics of England, in yet another attempt to distinguish themselves from the clergy of the Church of England.

So that’s where it comes from, but what does it mean?  What is the deeper meaning or theological significance of being called father?

Like everything we do and are, the fatherhood of the priest is but a poor reflection of the Fatherhood of God.  Or, as the great Caryll Houselander once wrote:

“The father and mother within us is only the faint image of the Father and Mother in God. He is the Father and Mother whose heart never sleeps, whose hands never lift from their works that they have made. He is the One who has numbered the hairs on our heads.52 In His humanity we are clothed as in a warm woolen garment. In Him we live as in our home. He is our food and our drink, our shade in the heat, our comfort in sorrow, our healing when we are wounded, our light in darkness.”
Caryll Houselander 

So the fatherhood of the priest is but a poor reflection of the Fatherhood of God. God the Creator, God the Teacher, and God the Sanctifier.

The Priest as Father Creator
Ironically, it is the fecundity of the Priest which is one of his primary characteristics as Father.  After all, the primordial meaning of fatherhood is to give life, to co-create with God.

The Rite of Ordination of a Bishop which many of you celebrated last week with Bishop Deeley reminds us in the homily that “with the charity of a father and brother, [the Bishop must] love all whom God places in [his] care, especially the priests and deacons, your co-workers in the ministry of Christ, but also the poor and the weak, immigrants and strangers.”

This is what Blessed Pope John Paul II was talking about when he insists that “the priest ... must exercise towards the men and women to whom he is sent a ministry of authentic spiritual fatherhood, which gains him "sons" and "daughters" in the Lord.”
In another Holy Thursday letter, the Holy Father continued: “The Priest, by renouncing this fatherhood proper to married men, seeks another fatherhood...recalling the words of the Apostle about the children whom he begets in suffering.

Such love, such charity to all whom God sends to him, breathes life into that which is dead, sheds light into the corners which have grown dark and defrosts with its warmth all that has grown frigid and cold.

How can a priest manifest the fecundity of God our Father, the Creator of all things seen and unseen?

It’s like Allen.  Thirty five years old and living with his girlfriend of the last three years, he came in with her to have his baby Baptized.  Every time I asked his girl friend a question she smiled from ear to ear and talked and talked.  When I would turn and ask him, she would smile from ear to ear, put her hand on his knee, and talk and talk.  For fifteen minutes she never shut up and he never opened his lips.

Finally, I turned to her and said, “would you mind if Allen and I went into the other room for a few minutes.”  Her face froze with a mixture of fear and panic.  But before her uncustomary silence ended, I led Allen out of the room and into the rectory parlor.

He stared at me with the eyes of the Anti-Christ.  Fearsome, ferocious and unyielding.  “Can I help you Allen,” I asked.  He just kept staring.  So I smiled and said, “Maybe I should go back in the other room so your wife could answer me.”  That got a wisp of a smile and the first words of the night.  “I don’t wanna be a Catholic any more...not after what they told my mother when all she wanted to do was to get married and do you know what that priest said to her....”  He didn't pause for a breath until a half hour had passed.  I think these two were made for each other.

But while her discourse was all smily faced sweetness and light, his was more real and what flowed out of his gut was the vilest bile of hurt and suspicion and hate you could imagine.  And I sat there and shut up and listened.  I nodded when he talked about how unfair it had been.  I cried when tears flowed down his cheeks about the pain he had felt.  And I grimaced when he told me the worst of it.

I didn’t judge, yea or nea on the truth of it, because for him it was all truer than any Iphone camera could ever record.  And he needed to vomit up the awfulness of it all and how much the Church had hurt his mother and him and the whole damn world.

I listened in love, in charity.  I shut up and listened and told him I was sorry for whatever stupid things others may have done and that all I wanted to do was lead him to the love of Christ.

And you know what?  Thirty minutes later we re-entered the room where his girlfriend had bitten off all her fingernails and pulled her hair out.  Her eyes bugged out in desperation as he smiled at her, hugged her, and said...”Why don’t we go back to Church.”  That old SOB who said that to my mother is dead.  Who was he to keep us from Church anyway?!

And what did I do to let God bring love from hate, light from dark, faith from hostility?  All I did was love.  And listen.  Charity makes us fruitful fathers.

The story is told of a meetings of Father Luigi Giussani and Bishop Eugenio Corecco, two of the founders of Communio e Liberazione.  Bishop Eugenio was close to death and began to pray that his suffering would, in some way, prove fruitful in his ministry as a Bishop.

“The essential thing for a bishop,” he said, for “a pastor, or an abbot [the essential thing for each of them]  is charity. Charity is what is fruitful, what changes and converts the people...Charity is what regenerates love. The world does not forgive. Charity always begins loving again...There’s no greater miracle than discovering in yourself charity, a love that wasn’t there before.” 

"What does love look like?” Saint Augustine once asked. “It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."

I suppose it is ironic that in my lifetime it may be a nun who has taught me the most about fatherly love. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once wrote:  "We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go."

Such is the love of a father, who cradles his son in his arms and dries his tears and the priest who sacrifices his life that the sheep in his care might live and love in peace and joy.

The Priest is also a Father when he teaches.
Whether he was teaching me to walk, to say dad, to not spend all my allowance on candy, to drive a car, to forgive, to work hard, or to always do the right thing, the one who worked with God to make me, my Father, was among my first teacher.

He was the one who took to heart the command of Deuteronomy, to impress on his children, talk about and write on the door frames of your house the commandments of God.

In the same way, according to the Council Fathers, the “priests of the New Testament, in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, exercise the most outstanding and necessary office of father and teacher among and for the People of God...”

A couple years ago I buried John.  I had first met him, and three of his friends, on a cold winter’s night out behind the Price Chopper Super Market in Spencer, where I was pastor.  The boys were 15 and 16 years old and have been thrown away by parents too young, too poor, or too frightened to care for them anymore.

It was the beginning of one of the most exciting adventures with which I have ever been blessed. With doctors and lawyers, parole officers and judges, local businessmen and social workers, we formed the St. Timothy Guild.  And for five years no teenager remained homeless, lacking a drug and alcohol program, job training, or someone to care for them. It was the church doing what she does best in a wonderful way.

The success of the endeavor only hit me almost two decades later, when John, now in his mid-thirties, died of his latest and last struggle with drugs.  We buried him from the cathedral and I was amazed at the presence of at least a half dozen of the kids I had not seen for 15 years. You see I had always insisted that they go to church every Sunday, that they be in the youth lounge at least three nights a week, and each time I would see them I’ve asked whether they’d said their prayers.

So I was deeply touched that a half-dozen of them showed up to church at John’s funeral and that I saw every one of them at the cemetery by his graveside.  When the prayers were concluded they all came over and each wanted to give a report of what it happened to their life in the last 15 years. Father Jim, I went to college for a whole year! Father Jim, I work at Price chopper and I became a butcher. Father Jim, I work at the court house!

And then Rob came up and was smiling from ear to ear. He introduced me to his new bride and told me they had left the two-year-old the three-year-old and the six-year-old home with his mother-in-law to babysit. And Father Jim, he practically giggled, that’s mine! As he said this he pointed to a large truck, actually s sewage treatment truck, which was his, along with the largest septic tank treatment business in the whole town of Spencer!

I congratulated Rob on his entrepreneurial success and to be honest could not have been prouder of what one of the kids who called me Father Jim had done with his life! But then he looked to me and reached inside his T-shirt and pulled out a cheap metal cross all rusty at the edges with most of the plating peeled away. I never took this off, Father Jim, in all these years, Rob looked at me with tears in his eyes.  You gave it to us and told us to pray and God would take care of us and he did.

I have never felt more like a father then at that moment. Never more needed.  Never more blessed.

They had no fathers or mothers or anyone else who would care for them.  Imagine being a sixteen year old kid about to go to jail for six months and there’s nobody there to say goodbye.  Imagine what it did for the kid’s image of himself.  Imagine what it, as a wise man once wrote, for his image of God:

“when human fatherhood has dissolved, all statements about God the Father are empty.” The crisis of fatherhood, therefore, leaves the human person lost, confused about who God is, confused about who he is, confused about where he has come from and where he is going.”

I remember innumerable times standing in Dudley district court, where I came to know the probation officers as well as the members of my parish council, when before sentencing the judge would say: “I see that Father Jim is in court.  What do you think the court should do to help young Mr. Flynn today, Father?’

It was as such moments when I grew to be a real father, a real priest, as Christ was there for those kids through even the weak and bumbling ministry of  “Father Jim.”
Priest as Father and sanctifier

I have entitled this talk with the words I speak while on my knees before a priest as I am about to confess my sins: Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  It is the prayer of the prodigal son who trusts in a father...the father who awaits his return at his every waking hour, staring down the road and dreaming of running out to meet his son, to take him in his arms and celebrate his return.  It is the confident prayer of a son who trusts in his father’s blessing.  "Bless me, father, for I have sinned."

For the priest, in the end, is the Father who blesses, like Noah and Esau and Abraham and Aaron.  But this father’s blessing is something more, for the priest speaks the blessing not in his own paternal name, but in the name of his father in heaven.  And the blessing takes effect not by virtue of his priestly action, but by the action of Christ the High Priest.  

Nowhere have I ever heard it better explained than in the words of the English mystic Caryll Houselander when she writes about Father O’Grady:

"Father O’Grady was on the side of life, he had no other work, no other raison d'etre but to give life, and the life he gave could not be killed. He was not outside of the world's love because he was a priest and alone, he was the heart of the world's love, its core, because the Life of the World is born every day in His hands at Mass.

Father O'Grady made the Sign of the Cross. "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen," and bowed down under the burden of the sins of the whole world. His own sins were a heavy enough load, and now he bowed under the weight of all sin. But when he straightened himself up from the Confiteor, the burden of the whole world's sin, and his own with it, had fallen from his back, and his shoulders were strong. For it was Christ who rose up and went up to the altar-Christ who had seen evil naked, face to face, Christ who had been brought down to the ground, under the world's sin to sweat blood into the dust, and Christ who had overcome the world.

He lifted the unconsecrated Host, light as a petal on its thin golden paten, and with it lifted the simple bread of humanity, threshed and sifted by poverty and suffering. He offered the broken fragments of their love, made into one loaf.

He lifted the wine and water mixed in the Chalice, and with it offered the blood and the tears of his people to God.

And God accepted the offering, the fragments of love were gathered up into the wholeness of Love and nothing was wasted.

Slowly, exactly, Father O'Grady repeated the words of Consecration, his hands moved in Christ's hands, his voice spoke in Christ's voice, his words were Christ's words, his heart beat in Christ's heart.

Fr. O'Grady lifted up the consecrated Host in his short, chapped hands, the server rang a little bell, the sailor, the handful of old women and the very old man bowed down whispering "My Lord and my God" and the breath of their adoration was warm on their cold fingers.

Father O'Grady was lifting up God...

The little server rang his silver bell. The people bowed down low. Time stopped. Fr. O'Grady was lifting up God in his large, chapped hands. Christ remained on the Cross. The blood and sweat and tears of the world were on His face. he smiled, the smile of infinite peace, the ineffable bliss of consummated love."


My father taught me, from the time I was born, to be imitate the holiness of God.  He taught it by his words, but even more by what he did, and most of all by who he was.

We are worthy of the name father only when it is not we whom people see and admire, but Christ Jesus in us.  And it is Christ through whom all things were made, Christ the paschal teacher, and Christ the sanctification and salvation of all mankind who is the model of what we are called to be.  For in the end, “Jesus' priest is not a bureaucrat, a hired hand, a CEO, or a careerist, but a father.”

January 17, 2013

Profession of Faith

Three Deacon candidates, all of whom will be ordained to the Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Boston on Saturday, made the Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity to the Church this evening during Vespers.  In the course of the celebration I offered the following homily.

In this year of faith, John Cassani, Gerald Souza and Christopher Wallace stand before the altar to process our Faith, the Faith of the Church, Faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is the Faith which comes to us from the Apostles which makes us one and makes us holy.

It is the Faith of the pastor by the grave of a child in Newtown Connecticut who believes that the now inconsolable mother will someday run out to embrace her child in the Kingdom of Heaven; 

It is the Faith of the six-year-old making his first confession who believes that father’s words are God speaking and the mercy pronounced by the lips of the priest can wash away any sin;

It is the Faith of the old man about to die with Viaticum on his tongue knowing that the food for the journey will lead him to a place of perfect refreshment, light and peace’

It is the Faith of the faithful prisoner that his humiliation is but a participation in the cross of Christ and that this penitential veil of tears is but a prelude to paschal joy;

It is the Faith of the seminarian, shamed by his own inadequacy, faith that the God who writes straight with crooked lines can make sense even of this;

What you profess is what you will live. Faith is not an act of the mind or the heart alone but all of our entire being. For what you believe is what you will become.

So inspire us my brothers! Make us strong! For what you profess is our faith. This is the Faith of the church. And we are proud to profess in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Eleven New Knights of Columbus

This evening eleven of our seminarians were initiated as third degree members of the Knights of Columbus.  Among the Knights who generously conferred the degrees were the Honorable State Deputy, Peter K. Healy and one of Saint John's most loyal friends, the Honorable Former State Deputy, Thomas M. Ledbetter.  

In congratulating them, Monsignor Moroney urged the seminarians to remember that the Knights of Columbus Councils are made up of "some of the most charitable 'men of the Church' you will ever meet."  He also recalled the challenge of Pope Benedict XVI to the Knights to "discover ever new ways to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a force for the renewal of the Church in holiness and apostolic zeal."

Saint John's Seminary is generously supported by the Knights of Columbus through donations, scholarships for seminarians, seminarian aid, and most of all, through the prayerful support of Knights throughout New England.  Saint John's is honored by the friendship of the Knights of Columbus and inspired by their example!

George Weigel on Evangelical Catholicism

This evening the Seminary community gathered at Saint Columbkille's Church to hear the third lecture in our series Forum for the Year of Faith.   Dr. George Weigel spoke to us on the topic: Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church.  To view a web stream of this presentation click here.

The lecture was offered in collaboration with the Office of the New Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Boston.  The Forum on Faith is made possible by a generous grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Foundation.

Future lectures in this series will be given by Cardinal Francis George (for an online brochure, click here) Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Cardinal George Pell.  If you wold like to be placed on an email list for notifications of all upcoming lectures, send Monsignor Moroney an e-mail at

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Deadliest Catch...

Monday of the 
First Week in Ordinary Time

Did you ever watch the reality TV show The Deadliest Catch?  It’s the highest rated program on the Discovery Channel.  The other night they were fishing for crab in the Berring Sea.  Walls of water as high as frigid sky scarpers, slippery decks and gale force winds while the boat totters to and fro like a rubber ducky in a hurricane.

And it’s educational!  Three things I’ve learned from that show about catching fish in the Berring Sea: It’s dangerous, you gotta go a long way from home to do it, and the pay is really, really good.

In the past ten years over five hundred fishermen have drowned in the Berring straights.  That averages out to nearly one fisherman per week, while the injury rate for crews on most crab boats in the fleet is nearly 100% due to the severe weather conditions on a tottering platform of cranes with little tiny life rails......Now that’s dangerous!

But not as dangerous as being a fisher of men.  Being called to cast out into the deep, to lay down your life, to love others as he loved us...unto death!  Unto death, to love not those whom we have chosen, but the ones whom God has chosen to place in our care.

Leaving Home
To get to the Berring Sea you need to fly to Nome, Alaska...the shortest route from Boston requires four changes of plane and takes twenty hours and twenty minutes.  And then its four hours on a boat before you get to the fishing grounds!...Now that’s leaving home!

But not as far from home as fishers of men are called to travel.  Not just the idea of leaving mother and father and family and not looking back.  Not just the idea of setting out without a traveling bag or second shirt.  But aspiring to the life of the Son of Man, who had no place to lay his head, obediently seeking only God’s direction, not my own.

Good Pay
The season is about three months before the ice sets in so they have to work rather intensively to catch Alaskan King crabs...24 hours a day for three months.  But the pay for an unskilled helper averages $30,000....for three months work! that’s really good pay!

But not as good as the the recompense of the good and faithful servant who, upon his master’s return will receive a reward beyond his wildest imaginings.  Not as good as an eternity of perfect joy before the face of the one who chose us, unworthy though we be, to be his priests, to preach his Gospel, to shepherd his people and to celebrate these holy and living sacrifices.

So, while you may be amazed by the adventures of the fishermen of the deadliest catch, be even more amazed at the Priesthood he bestows on those whom he has called to be Fishers of Men.

Monsignor James P. Moroney

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Last Christmas Thoughts...

As the last hours of the Christmas Season tick away, perhaps we might reflect on the words of Caryll Houselander in The Passion of the Infant Christ:

"How small and gentle his coming was. He came as an infant. The night in which he came was noisy and crowded; it is unlikely that, in the traffic and travelers to Bethlehem, the tiny wail of the newly born could be heard. God approaches gently, often secretly, always in love, never through violence and fear. He comes to us, as God has told us, in those whom we know in our own lives. Very often we do not recognize God."


Our thanks to Father Frederick Miller for the silent retreat he preached to us this past week.  He will remain in our grateful prayers.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cardinal Francis George in our Forum on Faith

Reserve February 25th
for Cardinal George's Presentation in our Forum on Faith!

A Day in the Life

To those of you who are not SJS Seminarians, I wonder whether you have ever thought about what day to day life in the Seminary is really like.  

The average day begins with Morning Prayer and Mass at 7:00am, followed by breakfast and classes.  At noon seminarians gather in Chapel for a fifteen minute examen, followed by lunch and more classes after lunch.  The day concludes with Evening Prayer and a Holy Hour at 5:00pm, followed by dinner.

Then there are formation evenings, meetings with spiritual directors and formation advisors, the process for evaluations, pastoral assignments, etc.  Which does not include the special events on the calendar.  Here’s how that looks for the next several weeks:

Jan 9-13 - Seminarian Retreat
Jan 13 - Knights of Columbus Degree Ceremonies
Jan 17 - Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity
            Rector’s Conference (On Fatherhood and Faith)
Jan 19 - Boston Ordination to the Diaconate
Jan 20 - Saint Botolph Guild
Jan 22 - Board of Trustees Meeting and Saint Andrew Dinner
Jan 24-25 - All Seminarians in Washington D.C. for March for Life
Jan 27 - Presentation on Gifts of the Holy Spirit with Fr. Merdinger

Feb 3, 10, 17 - Presentations on Gifts of the Holy Spirit with Fr. Merdinger
Feb 7 - Rector’s Conference (Preparing for the Passion of Christ)
Feb 12 - International Food Night
Feb 13 - Ash Wednesday (Day of Recollection)
Feb 23 - Day of Recollection for Acolyte Candidates
Feb 24 - Installation of Acolytes with Bishop Coleman

All of this is so that by hard work and prayer these good men might discern whether God is calling them to serve as your parish priest and preparing their hearts and minds to do his will.

Please keep them in your prayers through all the busy hours of each of their days!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Prayer for those who are sick...

In his message for the World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI addressed all those who are struggling with illness with these words: "I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centers or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image."

The following prayer is from the Roman Missal:

O God, 
who willed that our infirmities be borne 
by your Only Begotten Son 
to show the value of human suffering, 
listen in kindness to our prayers
for our brothers and sisters who are sick;
grant that all who are oppressed by pain, 

distress or other afflictions 
may know that they are chosen
among those proclaimed blessed
and are united to Christ
in his suffering for the salvation of the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Prayers for Bishop D'Arcy

Thirty years ago, Father John D’Arcy was spiritual director and professor of spiritual theology here at Saint John’s Seminary.  During the past year Bishop D’Arcy has been an invaluable advisor to me as I have sought to become a good rector.  Several months ago, Bishop D’Arcy sent me a whole packet of publications on seminary formation, each of which have been very helpful.  His love for Saint John’s Seminary and for each of our seminarians is tangible.

Now Bishop D’Arcy needs our prayers.  Here’s an excerpt of what he wrote to the people of the Church in South Bend yesterday:

I have a very rare form of cancer. Very rare.  It is quick striking and came as a surprise, “like a thief in the night” as the Scripture says.  I am now undergoing 15 days of radiation, which is palliative and has eased many symptoms.  After that, there will be some consideration of chemotherapy.  The doctors here are in close communications with my doctor in Fort Wayne.  

Now, most importantly, I ask everyone for your prayers.  Pray that I will accept this and whatever is to come with a full heart and a full “Yes” to God.  I am grateful to God for the extraordinary life He has given me and the graces He has poured out on me.  I thank God for my family and that I was born in the Catholic faith, which has always defended and defends in these troubled times the dignity of life and of the human person and the nature, which God has given us.  Over everything, I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Priesthood.  I never felt worthy of it.  I thank God with all my heart that I was appointed by Christ through the Church as shepherd of our beloved diocese.  

Pray that God will find my heart pure and holy and pray that I will trust God and rely, not on my own goodness, but on the merits and sacrifice of Christ our Savior.   

Above everything, pray for me and for my soul and that I will be found worthy to enter into the heavenly place that God has prepared for all of us, where I hope to meet my dear parents and so many loved ones.  

Please pray for me.  

Bishop John M. D’Arcy