Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Change of Seasons...

This past week the weather in Brighton went from cold to warm to cold to warm and now, on Tuesday night, we've seen a bit of snow turning to rain. The seasons change in God's good time and are all governed by his gracious will.

On Saturday we celebrated with great joy the ordination of Ryan

Sliwa as a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Springfield. The ordination took place in Ryan's home parish - Holy Family Parish in South Deerfield. Just a few minutes before Bishop Rozanski imposed hands on Ryan, we were all kneeling (while he lay prostrate on the ground) and singing the Litany of the Saints. When we stood, and just before the moment depicted in this picture, the Bishop prayed:

Lord God,
mercifully hear our prayers
and graciously accompany with your help
what we undertake by virtue of our office.
Sanctify by your blessing this man we present,
for in our judgment we believe them worthy
to exercise sacred ministries.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The next day I returned to Springfield for the wake of Bishop Joseph Maguire in Saint Michael's Cathedral. Cardinal O'Malley
celebrated the Funeral Mass on Monday, and Bishop McDonnell recalled how Bishop Maguire was a ‘‘true shepherd to all people’’ and found in retirement a role as ‘‘the diocese’s heart,’’ making personal visits to people in need. I remembered how Bishop Maguire had offered a retreat which I was privileged to take part in soon after I was ordained. He was "a priest's Bishop," a man of gentle compassion a real pastoral zeal. In paradisum deducante angeli!

Preparations for Christmas began, as well, as the Seminary enters into the last days of the semester. The favorite question in the
hallways is "How many more papers have you got to write?" Pray for the seminarians as they enter these days of last lectures, papers and final exams. And soon....very soon it will be Christmas and the words of the Advent hymn will be fulfilled: 

Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.