Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dedication of the Bishop John D'Arcy Conference Room

This evening the Seminary community gathered with the sons and the daughters of Our Lady of the Presentation community to honor a beloved son with the blessing of the Bishop John Michael D'Arcy Conference Room in the Seminary Lecture Hall and Library.  Almost two hundred "Pressies" joined us for the blessing, followed by the first annual Our Lady of the Presentation Picnic.

I welcomed those present with these words:

I welcome you.  In the name of the Church, in the name of Cardinal O’Malley who is still on the shores of that isle where Michael D'Arcy and Margaret Moran first learned how to pray, and I welcome you in the name of Saint John’s Seminary, whose campus at Our Lady of the Presentation is the newest and shiniest jewel the crown of a Seminary from which have come more than three thousand priests over thew past one hundred and thirteen years.
I’m so grateful to so many at this moment.  For without Rich and Chris and John and Sandy and Annie and Bill this day would not be possible.  But in a most particular way I want to thank all our benefactors and especially the D'Arcy family for making this special honor for their beloved Bishop John D'Arcy possible.  You are so very proud of him, but always remember how proud he was of each and every one of you!  And so I would ask Sr. Anne D'Arcy to offer a few words on behalf of the family.

Then Sister Anne D'Arcy, CSJ shared these beautiful words on behalf of the D'Arcy family:

It is a joy to be here in this beloved church of Our Lady of the Presentation, the spiritual home of our family for so many years. It was here that our parents, Michael John and Margaret Moran D’Arcy, were married in 1930. It was in this church where each of us, Mary, John, Joan and myself received all our sacraments. This is where John celebrated his first Mass in 1957 and officiated at the marriage of Joan and Hugh in 1965. It is also where he celebrated the funeral Masses of our parents.
We are here today with gratitude to Monsignor Moroney, Rector of Saint John’s Seminary, to dedicate this conference room to our brother, Bishop John Michael D’Arcy, on the anniversary of his birth, August 18, 1932. John was baptized here on September 4, 1932. On the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 2007 he returned here to pray in Thanksgiving for the graces which began at his baptism.

As Bishop, John fell in love with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He felt a bishop should be married to his diocese. He wrote to the Apostolic Nuncio requesting not to be transferred. But he never forgot Brighton.

In one of his columns in the diocesan paper of Fort Wayne, John wrote about growing up in Brighton. He said, “on one end of Brighton on a high hill was Our Lady of the Presentation church, on the other end, also on a high hill, was Saint John’s Seminary. I grew up in the shadow of those places.” He added, “It seems our lives were church, home, the ballpark and, for me, there was my father’s store.”.

It is fitting that this church he so loved is now part of Saint John’s Seminary. We know John’s special love for the priesthood, first as a parish priest at St. Mary’s Beverly, then as Spiritual Director at Saint John’s Seminary, where he helped prepare men for priesthood.

As Auxiliary Bishop of Boston he founded the Office of Spiritual Development, now 38 years later known as the Office of Spritual Life. Finally, as Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese he sent his own seminarians from Indiana to Saint John’s to prepare for the priesthood because he knew what a great seminary it is.

John is buried in the crypt beneath the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Fort Wayne and we are honored today to have his trusted assistant, Maureen Schott, with us all the way from Fort Wayne. When he died, the Indiana assembly recognized his zeal for the priesthood and passed a resolution acclaiming it. It is here today and I hope you will read it.

We thank God for the gift John was in our life and the lives of so many. As we celebrate his life, we pray that the love and joy of Christ he shared with all may inspire others to follow Christ more closely.

Following Sister's remarks,  I offered these brief words and a blessing:

Two and a half years ago, the Church lost one of her most loyal sons.  And Brighton was his home. 
Having survived living with three sisters, John was ordained from Saint John’s Seminary, where he would later serve as Director of Spiritual Life for fifteen years.
I still remember the letter he wrote to me when I was named Rector of Saint John’s.  With it, he included a half inch thick collection of articles and commentaries on Seminary formation in the twenty-first century.  “It won’t be easy,” he wrote, “but the Seminary does just about the most important work of the Church.” 
Bishop John D’Arcy is most famous for always telling the truth, whether to prelates or presidents. “I think I did with my life what God wanted me to do,” he said on the occasion of his retirement, with typical modesty, candor and faith. 
Cardinal O’Malley eulogized him as “a good and compassionate priest,” which is why we name this Seminary Conference room for him today.  For, when Seminarians meet here, I want them to be inspired by his love for the truth, and his courage to speak it.  When Diocesan officials meet here, I want them to remember his love for the Lord and for his holy Church.  
And when we meet here, I want us to remember that he is a son of Brighton, he was one of us: the faithful, who like the Blessed Virgin know our littleness but also know the great things God can do with us.  We are a people who will never abandon the faith of our fathers and our mothers, which came over on a boat with our parents and grandparents and which lives in each and every one of us today. 
So, welcome to the blessing of the Bishop John D'Arcy Conference Room at Saint John’s Seminary, Our Lady of the Presentation Campus, and welcome to the first annual “Pressie picnic” (however you spell Pressie).  Now pray with me, that God who blessed his Church with John D'Arcy will bless this room for the service of the Seminary and the Church and this Community for years to come! 

Let us pray.  
God of mercy and truth,  you sent your only Son to be our Savior and Lord.  He calls us together as his Church to carry out the work of salvation. 
We ask you now to bless us and all who will use this Conference Room.  May all who come here know the presence of Christ, experience the joy of his friendship, and grow in his love. 
Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.