Faculty, staff, and pastoral supervisors from the Seminary and Theological Institute came together for Holy Hour and a dinner in their honor this evening. In addition to thanking these good men and women who serve Saint John’s Seminary so well, we bid farewell to Father Merdinger and Bishop-elect Barber, who is pictured below. At the end of the evening, Monsignor Moroney offered these remarks.
When I first met with the faculties and staff of the Seminary and Theological Institute, almost nine months ago, I asked you to join me in praying that God would make us worthy of the holy work to which he has called us, “worthy of the faith he has planted in the hearts of the men and women who drive to the theological institute bleary-eyed from work, and the young man who sits in front of you and with tears in their eyes just say, “Father, all I want to do is give my life to Jesus and to his Church.”
God has made you worthy, Faculty, Staff, and pastoral supervisors....for God has done great things through you.
Thanks to you, the men who sit among you have grown in their conformity to Christ. They have come to love him, understand him, and follow him more closely. They are better prepared to bring him to those who wait for his cleansing word, his healing presence, and the holy communion which is the source of the entire Christian life.
Thanks to you, the men and women of the Theological Institute are better prepared for the lay ecclesial ministry needed so desperately by the Church in New England and throughout the world.
Shortly after his election as Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis wrote to the Jesuit Provincial in Argentina about being thankful. I now address his words to you. “Thank the Lord,” he told him, “for so many graces he has given you – your family, your vocation...your piety, your virtues...And finally, offer many prayers of thanksgiving, that the Lord will help you to always be good.”
On behalf of all our seminarians and students of the Theological Institute, thank you all!
In particular, I wish to briefly thank two members of our Seminary community as they take their leave.
First, Father Phillip Merdinger, who is retiring as a Spiritual Director to innumerable seminarians. For your strength, for your model of a Priesthood which has reached full maturity in Christ, we thank you, we will miss you, and we pray that the Brotherhood of Hope will continue to benefit from your wisdom and love of the Lord for many years to come.
And finally, we bid farewell from Bishop-elect Barber, who after these past whirlwind days, needs no introduction, save to say we love you, we respect you, and our hearts our heavy as you leave us. But it is God’s will and we bid you farewell with the assurance that He always provides the graces for whatever He asks us to do. And as a small token of our friendship and affection, I am pleased to present this pectoral cross along with our prayers.