Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Homily on Loving...


Here is my homily for Monday.

I will never forget Anna. She sat in the corner of the main room of the first nursing home I ever visited. I was in College and had far more hair and far less self-confidence. But I was stubbornly determined I was going to love her.

So the first time I knelt beside her wheel chair I gently took her hand in mine, I looked into her eyes and said with a gentle, loving voice, “Good morning, Anna!” To which she responded with an expletive not suitable to a 7am Mass in a Seminary. In fact, she let loose with a whole string of expletives, some of which I had never heard before.

I was shocked and crushed and afraid.


I expected an old lady, like the lovely old ladies I had seen in the movies and on T.V. to be sweet and grateful and sharing their famous old recipes for chocolate chip cookies. But this Grandma Moses had a mouth on her like Tupac Shakur and the temperament 

of a mad dog.

So, the next week I approached with trepidation. Knelt and looked (I have given up on the hand holding) and elicited the same response with the same string of expletives never stopping until I got half-way across the room.

Week three, after consulting with my pastoral supervisor, I returned to Anna and just stood there without the kneeling. Eventually she looked up, recognized me, and with what I swear was a slight grin, launched into the string of expletives, which by now, I knew by heart.

The next week, out of stubbornness if nothing else, I returned with a hearty “Good morning, Anna! I’ve been looking forward to seeing you!” To which she smiled and said, “Oh, what a week I’ve had!” And began a long lament of what its like to be the sick old lady in the wheelchair in the corner of the nursing home.

Anna was one of the best professors I have ever had. For she taught me that love is not what you read on a Hallmark Card or watch on Netflix. Love is not what you give so you get something back.

Love is giving, emptying, sacrificing. It is patient, kind and puts on no airs. Love is your heart breaking and your patience straining and still hanging in there. Love is never giving up. Love is forgetting yourself and your needs and wants and desires and just wanting the best for the other. Love is hanging there by the nails they have beaten into your wrists, looking down at them and saying “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”

God is love. So, “when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” And you will know love.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Homily on Zacchaeus

This weekend I am in Queensbury and Lake George, New York.  Here's the homily on Zacchaeus which I plan to preach.

When God looks down, Wisdom tells us, the whole universe is as a single grain.” and yet this “LORD and lover of souls” always loves the littlest and most imperishable of things.

Like when the Lord passes through Jericho. There would have been a synagogue there, with wise and admirable men. He could have gone to their houses and talked about the scriptures until late in the night. There would have been plenty of holy women who might have reminded him of his friends Martha and Mary and he could have chosen to go to their houses. There were plenty of folks standing around whom he could have chosen to dine with.

But of all the people in Jericho, he chooses the chief Tax Collector, a short, fat little guy who is sitting above Jesus as he walks by in Sycamore Tree so he could get a glimpse of Jesus. Somehow Jesus knew his name. “Zacchaeus,” he cries out, “come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

Reminds me of the time that the Prophet Samuel was sent by God to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint a new King for Israel. Perhaps you remember the story. After they had prayed and offered sacrifice, Jesse presented his sons to the prophet.

First there was Eliab, oldest and tallest and strongest and most handsome of them all. But the Lord whispered to Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”

So then Jesse brought out his son Abinadab. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” And so with Shammah and seven more of Jesse’s sons, none of whom proved suitable.

At a complete loss, Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other sons, to which the frustrated Patriarch replied: I have just the youngest, who is out tending the sheep, but who would ever choose a kid you can barely trust with a flock of sheep to be King of Israel?

You guessed it, God would. And when David arrived from the field he was anointed by Samuel and the spirit of the Lord was upon him and he became the most famous King in the history of the world.

God has a habit of choosing the weak and making them strong to accomplish great things for him. Like the scared little Virgin whose first words to the Angel are “How can this be?” Or the fisherman who betrayed him three times in a row upon whom he built his Church. Or the seminarian who kept failing his Latin exams before he became the Cure of Ars. Or the little Albanian nun who became the Mother of Calcutta and of the world.

Its just like the way he chooses Annunciation Parish or Sacred Heart Parish way up there at the foot of the Adirondacks. A lot of bigger parishes, richer parishes, more famous parishes. God could choose Saint Pater’s in Rome or Saint Patrick’s in New York. He could choose the likes of a Fulton Sheehan or a John Paul II. But today he chooses you and Father Busch to proclaim the Gospel in this place at this time to these people. No one else, just you to evangelize Queensbury and Lake George and all the people in them.

And its sorta like the way he chooses you, and you and you to bring life to his Church. He could have chosen someone better looking, or with more money or more time. Someone with the communication skills of a TV anchor or the writing skills of a Pulitzer Prize winner or the knowledge of a PhD. in Religious Studies to speak for him in this time and this place. But he didn’t

No, he chose the short fat guy sitting in the tree. Hey you! “come down here quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

And how will you answer?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Roman Graffiti

I just couldn't resist this example of modern Roman graffiti, depicting the Pope painting modern Roman graffiti!  It was quickly removed by the authorities, but I found it very amusing (while also being very illegal in Rome!)


Bishops of Massachusetts Oppose Marijuana Referendum

Here is the statement of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts opposing Question 4 on the legalization of recreational marijuana, a question that will appear on the Massachusetts ballot November 8th.


Marijuana represents a significant part of substance use in America and adversely affects the health of millions of Americans. According to a recent report issued by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Its widespread use and abuse, particularly by young people under the age of eighteen, is steadily increasing while scientific evidence clearly links its long term damaging effects on brain development. "When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Marijuana's effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent."

Legalizing a drug for recreational use that causes these effects on the human body, particularly our youth, is not a path civil society should choose to take. It has been well documented in Massachusetts and across the country that the nation is currently waging a losing battle against opioid abuse. Our attention must not be diverted from that health crisis, nor do we want to add fuel to it by contributing to the risks for the use of other illegal/illicit/proscribed substances through the legalization of marijuana. The availability of marijuana for adolescent users already constitutes an environmental factor for the later use of other illicit drugs. Its legalization will only serve to worsen this problem.

One only has to examine the devastating impact felt in Colorado since 2013, when recreational use of marijuana was legalized, to fully grasp what would be in store in Massachusetts. A comprehensive report issued last month by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area states that, since marijuana has been legalized, traffic deaths have increased by 48 percent. Recent statistics show that of all traffic deaths in Colorado, 21 percent of those individuals killed tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana related hospitalizations in Colorado have doubled from 2011 to 2014.

Marijuana use and abuse by the youth of Colorado has increased by 20 percent since legalization. Young people in Colorado rank first in the nation for marijuana use -- an illegal activity for anyone under the age of 21. Strikingly, this has negatively affected their family life, social life and school performance where expulsions and drop-out rates have spiked significantly. Do we really want to bring these issues to Massachusetts?

The Catholic Church teaches "the use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense."6

The Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts join Governor Baker and many other elected officials along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) in opposing the legalization of marijuana. We urge the voters of Massachusetts to vote NO on Question 4 on November 8, 2016.

A New Church in Uganda

Deacon Godfrey Musabe is a fourth year theologian here at Saint John’s, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Boston.  He is originally from Uganda, where many of his friends and family still live.  Deacon Musabe has told me how much he looks forward, God-willing, to returning next year to his home Church in Kyembogo Sub Parish to celebrate one of his first Masses as a priest next year.

He also shared with me the fact that his home parish is building a new Church and asked me to share that news with the readers of this blog.  Deacon Musabe writes:
In the year 2000, due to increased numbers of Christians, the church leadership decided to begin construction of a new church.  Although the planning began at this time 16 years ago, the actual building didn’t start until five years later, in 2005. 
For the last eleven years, the construction has been going on at a slow but steady pace. Each Sunday the Christians raise funds for the project through the selling of food stuffs and livestock.  Today, the church building is almost finished and roofing is done.  However, there is still much to do before it is finished; for example, the walls need plastering, the windows and flooring have yet to be done, and the Altar and tabernacle are not yet finished.  Additionally, they are planning to build more permanent seating for the church, as right now, the community borrows benches from a nearby school.  The next phase of the project will also use materials leftover from the church building to construct a guest house, which will double as a rectory in the future. 
This project is personal to me for a number of reasons, but most especially since, once ordained to the priesthood next year, God willing, it is the same church I hope to use for a Thanksgiving Mass while in Uganda.  We are looking for $25,000 to $30,000 in total for the completion of the church and the guest house/rectory, but gifts of any amount will go a long way towards helping us reach our goals.

If you would like to help the Catholics of Kyembogo to complete this project, make your check payable to “Kyembogo Catholic Church” and mail it to Deacon Godfrey Musabe, Saint John’s Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Music in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary with David Woodcock and Janet Coxwell

For the second year in a row, special guest conductors David Woodcock and Janet Coxwell of the Early Music Academy in England have joined with our Director of Sacred Music Music, Dr. Janet Hunt, to conduct the Saint John's Seminary Festival Choir in a concert of Marian music spanning several centuries, from plain chant to Eric Whitacre. We are grateful to our sponsors: Santini, Inc and Wessling Architects for making this Concert possible.



Here are the remarks I offered at the beginning of the Concert:

Perhaps the life of no single human being has so inspired the composition of music as the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is appropriate since the life of the “most blessed among women” is the most perfect song ever sung to the God of all beauty and truth. Composed in tones of humility, obedience and faithfulness, the composition begins with an Immaculate Conception and concludes with a sorrowful mother at the foot of the Cross. But the constant theme in every movement is the opening lyric: “Be it done to me according to your word.”

We are deeply Blessed today by the presence of two of the finest musicians of our age: Janet Coxwell and David Woodcomb, who with our extraordinary Dr. Janet Hunt have prepared our scola to lead us in a spiritual exercise of meditation on the life and the truth of the great Mother of God, Mary, Most Holy. All I can say, in word totally inadequate, are that I am deeply grateful.

Let us pray.

O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, 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.

(Collect from the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God)

Got to see an old friend this morning....

I was delighted this morning to see an old friend at Mass in Saint Joseph's Basilica in Webster.  Jack McNally is the oldest living member of the administration of President John F. Kennedy and a lifelong resident of Webster.  He served as Staff Assistant to President Kennedy for his entire presidency and was one of the primary persons responsible for planning the President's Funeral. 

In his book From the Little Green House to the White House and Beyond (Continuum, 2007) Jack writes of President Kennedy: "I believe his youth, his vigor, his ability not communicate with people the world over, his commitment to a better life, a better world, the hope that he have to people of all walks of life, will allow future generations to rate him as one of our greatest Presidents." (page 92)

Jack is pictured below (to the far left) as President Kennedy is shown a model of the Mercury space capsule in 1961.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Homily on Humility


Here's my homily for this weekend, preached at Saint Joseph basilica in Webster on the importance of humility in our lives.
”I am the best! Nobody can do it better! God is so lucky I work for him!” These are the words of the proud Pharisee in today’s Gospel: “I am not like the rest of them — I am perfect!”

Such pride often masquerades as virtue. I am so good, Lord….so very humble! In fact I’m better at being humble than anyone else!"

Such pride began in the Garden of Eden, when Adam wanted to “be like God.” Adam, the father of all narcissists, wanted the Kingdom, the Poor and the Glory all for himself.

And are we really very different? Given the choice between power and powerlessness, wealth and poverty, acclaim and anonymity very few of us would choose bowing very low to the ground.

Very few, save Jesus, the Son of the living God through whom all things were made, who out of love for sinful man chose to become a helpless little baby; who out of love for sinful man chose to endure all the pains and limitation of the human condition, a man like us in all things but sin. Jesus, our salvation, who out of love for sinful man opened his arms to a passion and death through which he was despised as the least among men and crucified upon a cross. He became the least to save us from our sin. He died that we might be saved from death.

Saint Paul tells us the meaning of this kenosis, this perfect humility, in his letter to the Phillipians: “Though [Jesus] was in the form of God he did not deem equality with God to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of man.”

And as he loved us, so the Lord asks us to love one another: through a humility so total that it lays down its life for one’s friends. The origins of the word “humility” help us to understand its meaning here. It comes from the Latin word humus, which means “ground” or “dirt.” It reminds us of the second creation account (Cf. Gen 2:7) where God uses three Hebrew words: Adamah (meaning dirt), Ruah (meaning breath or spirit) and Adam (the name he gave the first man). God reaches down to the earth and takes a handful of Adamah and breathes his Ruah into it and Adam is born. That’s why each Ash Wednesday we are smudged with ashes and reminded that we are dirt and to dirt we shall return.

It is only the breath of God which brings life into this earthly vessel, and only the Holy Spirit which turns us from houses of clay into Temples of his Glory.


Thus whenever we approach God, we do so like the publican in today’s Gospel, by bowing, genuflecting, submitting to the will of God in respect, humility, reverence and obedience.

Just think of the patron Saint of this great Basilica. The Scriptures say little about him. Why? Because Saint Joseph understood the importance of humility. He loved God. He loved Mary, and when she found to be with child before they were married, he was humiliated, but still he let go of all of that and took her as his wife.

Joseph understood, as Pope Francis has reminded us, that “Humility can only get into the heart via humiliation. There is no humility without humiliation, and if you are not able to put up with some humiliations in your life, you will never be humble.”

Abba Appolo, a desert father of the Church in her first days used to say that "the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil."

As Sir Winston Churchill used to say that there was only one lesson to learn in this life, and it has two parts: That there is a God. And I am not him.

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon….

It may have been quiet in Lake Wobegon, but its been rather busy here at your favorite Seminary.  And while the hectic-ness has kept me from posting for several days, here are a few of the highlights.

On Monday the glow of our Softball Victory was still throughout the house.  After Holy Hour and Supper we gathered for my annual dessert reception with the third floor seminarians.  By 11pm we had solved most of the problems of the Church and the world!

Tuesday brought a major progress report on the progress being made at Deacon House and the new home for our Theological Institute on Our Lady of Presentation Campus.  The new Chapel, which will serve both the Deacon and Institute communities, was framed out earlier this week and conduits for the new electrical service are being excavated.  Next week the new windows should go in, followed by the shingles and painting of the exterior, while the interior plumbing is also set to commence.

On Thursday the Class of 2016 returned to Saint John’s for Mass and supper.  Father Chris Bae (Boston) presided at the Liturgy, while Father Curtis Miller (Burlington, left) preached a wonderful homily.  Here’s a picture of their class gift: a beautiful white cope, emblazoned with the Seminary’s Coat-of Arms.

On Thursday evening we took possession of "The Annex" to accommodate our continuing growth.  Everyone is pleased that this Holy House has finally been restored to wholeness.

On Friday I met with Father Kevin O'Leary and Brian Baker of Baker Liturgical Art to review the marbles for the floor and liturgical furnishings at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Cardinal O'Malley had asked me to work with Father O'Leary and Father Jonathan Gaspar on this important renovation of Boston's beloved Cathedral.  To the left, you see Mr. Baker and Father O'Leary with some of the marbles which will be used in the extraordinary new Altar of Sacrifice.  Last month I spent a couple days in Pietrasanta in northern Tuscany examining various alternatives to the designs which have now been happily approved so that the work of fabrication can begin.

This morning the Development Committee took part in a three-hour brainstorming session on new and improved initiatives to promote and sustain Saint John’s Seminary.  I am deeply indebted to Sandy Barry, our Director of Annual Giving and Craig Gibson, our Chairman of the Development Committee for the the work which went into this meeting and all the good ideas which emerged from it!

Just a few minutes ago, the fire alarm sounded and we all gathered in the courtyard to await the arrive of the wonderful folks at the Boston Fire Department.  Fortunately, it was just a glitch in our alarm system and everyone was back in the building in time for lunch and time to continue preparing for the mid-terms which have also dominated this week.


Thanks for your prayers!  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Great Good News!



SAINT JOHN'S SEMINARY REGAINS OWNERSHIP
OF LAKE STREET ANNEX
SJS to expand by three floors to keep up with rapid enrollment growth



Brighton, MA - October 20, 2016 - Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, Chairman of the Saint John's Seminary Board of Trustees, announced today that Msgr. James Moroney, Rector, has signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Boston College to buy back over 13,000 sq. feet of space within the 127 Lake Street building for the creation of new student rooms and administrative offices.
Having just opened its doors to the largest class in over 15 years of 98 resident seminarians (with an additional 36 non-residents as well), Saint John's Seminary is now bursting at the seams with men from sixteen dioceses around New England and across the globe, six Institutes of Religious Life, and one Ecclesial movement. The oldest and largest seminary in the Northeast, and the sixth-largest nationwide, it is shepherded by Monsignor James P. Moroney, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, and Saint John's Seminary Rector since 2012.

The Annex, located above the present kitchen and Refectory, is comprised of three floors and was previously used for student and faculty living quarters. Sold to Boston College in the early 2000's as part of a larger real estate deal, this space has now been recovered, and will be fully renovated over the next few years to accommodate the institution's rapid and inspiring growth.

Below is a photo of Cardinal O'Malley, Msgr. Moroney, and the Board of Trustees at a stairwell to the Annex celebrating the execution of the agreement to purchase.  The Board gathered for their quarterly meeting on September 19, the same day. For more information, please contact Sandy Barry, Director of Annual Giving, at sandy.barry@sjs.edu or 617-746-5413. 

                                 -------------------

Saint John's Seminary prepares Roman Catholic seminarians for ordination to the Priesthood through programs of human, pastoral, spiritual and academic formation. It is governed by a Board of Trustees, chaired by the Archbishop of Boston. While primarily in service to the Bishops of New England, Saint John's Seminary also enrolls seminarians from other (Arch)Dioceses, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in its several degree programs. Located in Brighton, MA, there are currently 98 seminarians in residence, with an additional 36 non-residents studying for religious orders.  In addition, the Seminary's associated Theological Institute prepares laity, deacons and religious for ministry and service to the Dioceses of the region.

Great Good News!



SAINT JOHN'S SEMINARY REGAINS OWNERSHIP
OF LAKE STREET ANNEX
SJS to expand by three floors to keep up with rapid enrollment growth


Brighton, MA - October 20, 2016 - Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, Chairman of the Saint John's Seminary Board of Trustees, announced today that Msgr. James Moroney, Rector, has signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Boston College to buy back over 13,000 sq. feet of space within the 127 Lake Street building for the creation of new student rooms and administrative offices.
Having just opened its doors to the largest class in over 15 years of 98 resident seminarians (with an additional 36 non-residents as well), Saint John's Seminary is now bursting at the seams with men from sixteen dioceses around New England and across the globe, six Institutes of Religious Life, and one Ecclesial movement. The oldest and largest seminary in the Northeast, and the sixth-largest nationwide, it is shepherded by Monsignor James P. Moroney, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, and Saint John's SeminaryRector since 2012.
The Annex, located above the present kitchen and Refectory, is comprised of three floors and was previously used for student and faculty living quarters. Sold to Boston College in the early 2000's as part of a larger real estate deal, this space has now been recovered, and will be fully renovated over the next few years to accommodate the institution's rapid and inspiring growth.
Below is a photo of Cardinal O'Malley, Msgr. Moroney, and the Board of Trustees at a stairwell to the Annex celebrating the execution of the agreement to purchase.  The Board gathered for their quarterly meeting on September 19, the same day. For more information, please contact Sandy Barry, Director of Annual Giving, at sandy.barry@sjs.edu or 617-746-5413. 
                                                              ###
Saint John's Seminary prepares Roman Catholic seminarians for ordination to the Priesthood through programs of human, pastoral, spiritual and academic formation. It is governed by a Board of Trustees, chaired by the Archbishop of Boston. While primarily in service to the Bishops of New England, Saint John's Seminary also enrolls seminarians from other (Arch)Dioceses, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in its several degree programs. Located in Brighton, MA, there are currently 98 seminarians in residence, with an additional 36 non-residents studying for religious orders.  In addition, the Seminary's associated Theological Institute prepares laity, deacons and religious for ministry and service to the Dioceses of the region.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chronicle of an Epic Battle 2016




On the 16th of October, in the year of our Lord 2016, the teams of St. John's Seminary of Boston and Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary met on the field of Regis College to do battle in their annual contest for the greatly coveted Softball Trophy. Inclement weather, and breaks, reduced the amount of practice time and pastoral assignments, guests, midterms, and injuries ravaged the roster of St. John's, which arrived to find themselves heavily outnumbered by their opponents. Undaunted, the line-up which featured four first-time starters took the field to defend that which had been so valiantly won the year before.

The Relics began with ferocity and determination, the first pitch of the game sailing over the fence. A single, another single, another home run, and yet another single, as four runs crossed the plate without an out recorded. Then, the defense settled, the next three batters retired, and St. John's was up to bat. Billy Robinson, captain of the team came up to bat, lining a single to begin the counter-attack. Brendan Rowley slapped a double into the gap to threaten for St. John's for the first time. Those bats, so true and trusted, which had fought and won before, began the counter-attack. Dcn. Dave Harris stepped in, a 6-year veteran, ready to begin in earnest his last game; a fly-out. Bobby LeBlanc whose heroics aided last year's victory followed him; a strikeout. A dire turn of fortune had weakened that potent veteran presence in the line-up, and the team's line-up faced its first challenge.

The first men in the line-up were veterans, used to their place, but what came next in the line-up was a calculated gamble making use of the new talent on the roster. Derek Mobilio had shown great ability to hit low and fast through the in-field, placed fifth to put a runner on base consistently after Bobby and Dave were expected to clear them. Matthew Norwood came next, being called on to start only minutes before the game but chosen from the bench players for his consistent contact at the plate in practice, also to get on base. Seventh Joe Ferme, whose power was hoped to produce home runs to start the second clean-up wave in the order, followed eighth by Nick Stano whose bat showed versatility and power. This was the untested part of the offensive scheme, and it arrived at a critical juncture in the contest. Derek laced a bases-clearing single to score the first two runs for St. John's. Matthew followed with a single to add a base-runner for Joe who hit a single to score Derek. Nick launched a double to score Matthew, and the game was tied; the stratagem worked. Now the veteran and four-year ace of St. John's, Dcn. Brian Morris, stepped in and with a newfound power to opposite field fired a bases-clearing double past the right fielder. Workhorse Matt Gill, a steady presence at the bottom of the order for the past five years scored Brian with a single next. When the inning was over, seven runs had crossed the plate. SJS 7, PSJ 4.

Dcn. Brian Morris then began a stellar pitching performance, backed by a fundamentally sound, polished and fluid defense allowing only four runs over the ensuing four innings. The offense continued its onslaught in the ensuing innings, scoring sixteen more times in those frames. Those bats of David and Bobby came alive without delay, and soon the ball began to fly over the fence in right field, center, and left at an alarming pace. David Harris and Bobby LeBlanc each recorded three home runs in their final five at-bats. Brendan Rowley added another three, as did Joe Ferme, and Brian Morris. Derek Mobilio, whose task was to get on base for Joe, Nick, and Brian to score him, went 6-for-6 and on every occasion came around to score. Matt Norwood, and his sixth inning replacement Dan White also managed to reach base safely all six times, and those two spots in the order contributed heavily to Joe Ferme's team-leading 10 RBIs. The team combined for a .730 OBP with all twelve players used scoring at least once. Peter Cotnoir and Dan White, who came off the bench in relief of their comrades reached base safely twice in two plate appearances apiece. Derek and Joe fit seamlessly around the veteran middle infield of Bobby LeBlanc and Brendan Rowley, Brian Morris showed his defensive chops snagging a wicked comebacker, and the fourth consecutive year of Dave Harris, Billy Robinson, and Matt Gill covering from Left to Right-Center field proved as effective as the previous three, augmented by the Right field play of Nick Stano and then Peter Cotnoir. Behind the dish Matthew Norwood and Dan White performed admirably on short notice, rounding out a complete defensive effort to complement what became an offensive onslaught.

The day was not, however, without its drama. As the bottom of the third inning approached, St. John's leading 12-5 and coming up to bat, it was clear that momentum had shifted firmly behind the defending champions. Brendan Rowley led off with a home run. Dave Harris followed with a homer of his own, and Bobby LeBlanc made it three in a row. Derek reached first safely, and was joined by Matt Norwood on the bases promptly. Joe Ferme hit another home run to score the lot, followed by a triple from Nick, and a home run by Brian Morris; eight batters, eight runs scored, nobody out. Matt Gill came to the plate and had one of his few hitless at-bats, and then Billy came to the plate and flied out, at which point the Relics walked off the field, and the umpires called a third out. With the score 20-5 in favor of St. John's the protest was mild and short, and the field was resumed. Alas, in the fourth and the fifth innings, the offense stalled scoring only three runs, and it seemed that the break in momentum caused by the lost out could spell trouble for St. John's. The lead having dwindled slightly to 23-11, however, the bats came alive in the 6th inning batting around twice, scoring fifteen runs and sealing a 38-13 victory for the home team.

This, one of the most lop-sided victories of recent memory was the product of a lot of work from all of the talented players on our roster, those who played (Billy Robinson, Rev. Mr. David Harris, Rev. Mr. Brian Morris, Brendan Rowley, Matthew Gill, Bobby LeBlanc, Derek Mobilio, Matthew Norwood, Joseph Ferme, Nick Stano, Daniel White, and Peter Cotnoir), and those who practiced with the team and were unable to play (Michael Rora, Joseph Kim, Patrick O'Connor, Joseph Maurici, Jeffrey Maciejewski, Rev. Mr. Joseph Sanderson, Greg Sheffield, David Campo, Tom Murphy, and Joseph Moynahan). This is thanks in a special part to the work of captains Billy Robinson and Dave Harris, and analyst/player Michael Rora who worked together to craft the starting roster and line-up. Thanks are also warranted to Msgr. James Moroney, Msgr. Cornelius McRae, Fr. Chris O'Connor, and all those who came out to support the team.



An Introduction to the New Order of Celebrating Matrimony

Here is a talk I gave yesterday to my brother priests of the Diocese of Worcester on the new Order of Celebrating Matrimony.



Saint Ignatius of Antioch

This is my homily for the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Antioch.


The great gift of the martyrs, it seems to me, is to see rightly: to clearly perceive that which is important and that which fades away.

Last weekend, I was in Chicago with Father O’Connor for some meetings at Mundelein and stopped by the grave of an old friend.  As we prayed, we did not see my friend.  His body was gone, never to be seen or touched again this side of paradise. 

But what did last was his faith, which keeps returning to me in stories remembered, acts of faith and words never forgotten.

Some day someone, perhaps even some of you, will plant my body in the earth, like a grain of wheat.  And what will remain will be nothing of what you see, only what has touched the heart with faith and hope and love.



So let us be like Saint Ignatius today, and center our lives on what truly matters…what lasts and lives once the grain of wheat has been planted in the earth in expectation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Luke and the Kingdom of God

This is my homily for the Feast of Saint Luke this morning.

Saint Luke, according to John Chrysosthom, was not only the author of the Gentile Gospel but the Acts as well.  A Physician and companion of Saint Paul, he is the only one still with the Apostle to the Gentiles even at the end of his life in Rome.


In today’s account of the sending forth of the disciples, Luke uses one of his favorite phrases as Jesus sends the seventy-two forth to proclaim: “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”

This is the same Kingdom which Luke describes as Good news for the poor and demanding of our single-minded perseverance.  To get to it requires childlike faith: for it is a Kingdom which is here now, but will come in its fulness only at the end of time.

Luke seems obsessed with the Kingdom of God, and rightly so, for as our beloved Pope Emeritus reminds us “Jesus is the Kingdom of God, because , through him, God’s Spirit acts upon the world.”  

Which means the preaching of the disciples is true: the Kingdom of God is at hand for you!  Jesus is at hand for you!  Today.  In this place.  Right now.  For you.

What does that mean?

It means that between you and that mid-term coming up, is Jesus.  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

It means that between you and that relationship which causes you such pain is Jesus.  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

It means that between you and that skill you cannot master or that goal you cannot achieve, or that desire you cannot fulfill is Jesus…for the Kingdom of God is at hand!


The same Jesus who first whispered in your heart, who has a plan for your life, who loves you more than you can ever know is with you in every moment, every pain, every doubt and every joy.  For the Kingdom of God is as close as your next breath, and Jesus is at hand.

Monday, October 17, 2016

White Mass at SJS!

Close to one hundred medics and professionals gathered with Cardinal O'Malley at Saint John's for the annual "White Mass."  Here's a photo of some of the participants in the celebration!


Deacon House on the Way!

Deacon House has made great progress this week!  The new windows on the first floor are installed and work has begun on the new electrical and plumbing systems!  The former Our Lady of Presentation Rectory will make a great new home for ten of our deacons!



Dr. Lingertat in Vilnius

Dr. Aldona Lingertat is still on a lecture tour of Vilnius, Lithuania, where she recently visited the "Hill of the Crosses" to which Saint John Paul II so famously made a pilgrimage.  She also gave an interview to Catholic Radio in Vilnius on the role of the laity in the Church today.





Sunday, October 16, 2016

Annual SJS/SJ23 Softball Game

The annual softball game between Saint John's Seminary and Saint John XXIII Seminary took place this afternoon on the grounds of Regis College.  Saint John's was victorious with a score of 38 to 13.  A wonderful time was had by all!  There follows a slow-motion video, shot on an iPhone 7, of several of our best hitters and a variety of other pictures as well.























Friday, October 14, 2016

A Night to Celebrate the Society of Jesus

I was honored this evening to celebrate Mass and have dinner with the Jesuit community at Boston College.  We were commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of our own Father Jim Conn’s entrance into religious life as well as the election earlier today of Father Arturo Sosa Abascal as Superior General of the Society of Jesus.  At the conclusion of Mass we sang the Te Deum in gratitude to God for these great blessings.  

As I pray Compline tonight, I am reminded of one of my favorite prayers of Saint Ignatius, which always reminds me of what a gift the Society of Jesus has been to the Church.

Dearest Lord, 
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rector's Conference on Relationships

Its all about relationship, starting with the Holy Trinity.  As Pope Francis reminded us:

“But the mystery of the Trinity also speaks to us of ourselves, of our relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In fact, through baptism, the Holy Spirit has placed us in the heart and the very life of God, who is a communion of love. God is a “family” of three Persons who love each other so much as to form a single whole. This “divine family” is not closed in on itself, but is open. It communicates itself in creation and in history and has entered into the world of men to call everyone to form part of it. The trinitarian horizon of communion surrounds all of us and stimulates us to live in love and fraternal sharing, certain that where there is love, there is God. Our being created in the image and likeness of God-Communion calls us to understand ourselves as beings-in-relationship and to live interpersonal relations in solidarity and mutual love. Such relationships play out, above all, in the sphere of our ecclesial communities, so that the image of the Church as icon of the Trinity is ever clearer. But also in every social relationship, from the family to friendships, to the work environment: they are all concrete occasions offered to us in order to build relationships that are increasingly humanly rich, capable of reciprocal respect and disinterested love.”                                
                       - Pope Francis, Angelus, 22 May 2016.

It's all about relationship. Just look at the manger. It's all about love. You can see it in the tender gaze of the virgin. You can hear it in the song of the angels. You can embrace it in the devotion of the shepherds. And most of all you can know it in the love which does not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, but takes the form of a child who opens his arms on a cross and empties himself that we might be saved. It’s all about relationship.  The love between the persons of the Most Blessed Trinity and the love we have known in him who gave us the command: “love one another as I have loved you.” It’s all about relationship. 

The Loving Celibate
No one agonizes over relationships like a celibate.  Yet, when you are made for the celibate life, nothing can make you more loving.

“Celibacy calls priests to reach toward outward health by sharing a life of compassion, affection, work, and play, with the full range of those with whom they share life and faith, respecting and accepting both genders. It calls them to open up generously so they can share attentively with others their joys and hopes their fears and their sorrows, and so the priest can invite them to share his, too.  Celibacy calls a priest as well to life-giving creativity and generatively. In all that he is, says, and does. That is to say, priests need a life! They deserve time for self-expression and self-development--from playing the piano and creative writing to gardening and building things, from hunting, fishing, and breeding dogs to the theater, travel, and researching family genealogy. The more creative and generative priests are, as is true for all people, the healthier their attitudes toward all of life, including sexuality. Healthy sexual attitudes require a lifetime striving.”1

And its all woven together.  If my relationship with my close personal friends is a mess, its going to affect my relationship with parishioners and my brother priests and even my staff.  If my relationship with those whom I serve as shepherd is a mess, its going to have an impact on the way I experience my family and my friends and even my Bishop.  It’s all connected, and when one part of my relational life goes kaflooey, I need to pay attention to the whole thing.

So lets look at a few of the many relationships which go to make up the affective life of the diocesan priest, somewhat arbitrarily divided here into Defining,  Primary, and Personal Relationships.

First, Defining Relationships.
The Bishop
From the moment a priest places his life in the hands of his Bishop and promises obedience and respect, a defining relationship is established with enormous implications for these two ordained ministers and the Church which they will serve together.

The Bishop is the one on whom my entire priestly ministry depends.  Indeed, in the words of Pastores dabo vobis “there can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with one's own Bishop.”2

So essential is this relationship that Archbishop Cupich once wrote: “the one non-negotiable for the growth of a local church is a sound and vibrant relationship between the bishop and the members of his presbyterate.”3

This relationship must be characterized by a mutual honesty and trust and a deep and perduring love.  The Bishop cares for each of his priests as a brother and a son.  The priest depends on the Bishop as an elder brother and a father.

When the priest faces new pastoral challenges for which he lacks the skills, the Bishop and his curia should be his first resort.  Indeed, many have suggested that a chancery or pastoral center is itself best judged by how well each of its’ offices serve the concrete needs of the priests.

The Bishop should be accessible and a good and patient listener, attentive to the joys, the worries and the wounds of a younger shepherd’s heart.  He must be willing to readily share from his vast wealth of pastoral experience and do whatever is needed to guide, cajole and support his priests.

The priest, likewise, should be obedient, respectful and hungry for the spiritual and pastoral guidance of the one whom God has chosen to lead him.  Despite the constant temptation to take part in an incessant cycle of clerical jealousies, spiteful jokes, rumors and disparaging remarks, the priest must seek to love, respect and obey more deeply with each passing day.

Even when, and perhaps especially when, the priest finds himself over his head, slipping off a cliff, or with no place to turn, the Bishop is called to be the one who goes out to find the lost shepherd and carry him home.

Every case in which a priest has ended up in treatment, in jail or permanently removed from ministry is preceded by an infinite number of moments in which the whole disastrous course of events could have been stopped by picking up the phone and calling the Bishop and uttering those three little words: “I need help.”

We all need help, regularly, and significantly.  And the Bishop is always your first call.

The Presbyterate
And then there are your brother priests.  The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council depicted the preeminent manifestation of the Church as a celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral Church “at one altar at which the Bishop presides, surrounded by his presbyterate and ministers.”4

The relationship of the members of a presbyterate is concretely expressed at every ordination when the priests who are present greet “their newly ordained brothers with the fraternal kiss as a sign of reception into the presbyterate…” (Rite of Ordination [ORD], no. 110)

The second defining relationship of my priestly life, therefore, is as a member of the presbyterorum Vigornii, the presbyterate of the Diocese of Worcester.  That’s because “all priests … are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, and in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop.”

Just before Christmas a couple of years ago, the Worcester presbyterate buried Father Frank Goguen, pastor of Saint Cecilia’s Church in Leominster.  Frank went to the same Seminary as me and I would see him at our yearly reunions.  Once or twice I went to Saint Cecilia’s to give a talk for him, and occasionally we would end up at the same dinner with a bunch of other priests.  

I could tell you funny Frank Goguen stories (including the ones about the darn hat he always wore).  And he was one of our best pastors.  Which is why my brothers and I held him in such great esteem.  He was and is important to me as a fellow priest, a Worcester Priest.  Just as all 137 of the members of my presbyterate are my brothers….with all their faults and all their glories, with their idiosyncrasies and their talents.  They are my brothers and I need them.

When my dad died a few year ago, so many of my brother priests showed up to concelebrate…as I have done for their jubilees and and anniversaries and funerals and for the annual three day presbyteral assembly down the Cape. Priests of your presbyterate will be your mentors, your friends, your superiors and even, someday, your parochial vicars.  They are your brothers.  

One final quick point on the importance of our relationship to the presbyterate.  I have known a lot of priests who, sadly, have left the priesthood in the Diocese of Worcester, some of their own accord and some due to the painful and extraordinary circumstances of their lives.  But in no instance have I ever known a priest to leave the priesthood who was deeply connected to his brother priests.  

A recent CARA survey reinforced my perception: “priests who perceive a lack of encouragement or support from fellow priests, who have relatively few close friends who are priests, and who view their bishop as unsupportive are more likely than others to express dissatisfaction [with their priesthood].” (Presbyterorum ordinis, no. 8)

Your presbyterate is like your family.  Stay in touch!

Second are the Primary Relationships:

The people
Why did God make priests? The Homily from the ordination of a priest makes it clear: for the “service of the people of God.” (ORD, no. 123)  Listen to the Bishop as he preaches to the people:

“…they will be consecrated as true priests of the New Testament, to preach the Gospel, to shepherd God's people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord's sacrifice.” (ORD, no. 123)

And listen to the first question you will be asked, God willing, on the day of your ordination:

“Do you resolve, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discharge without fail the office of priesthood in the presbyteral rank, as worthy fellow workers with the Order of Bishops in caring for the Lord's flock?” (ORD, no. 124)

Your relationship to the people in your parish is, therefore, primary and indispensable.  We are not made priests for ourselves, but for the flocks to whom we are sent as shepherds.

That means that the Priest must be, by definition, attractive to his parishioners.  Not so that they might be loved, but so that the beauty of Christ Jesus might shine through him. People should be made to feel at home with their priest.  He must be seen as an educated man who is popular and fun to be around.  He is articulate and generally perceived to be a good guy.  It is a good thing that “priests are often sensitive, attentive, and decently comfortable about listening to and expressing feelings.

This is what Pope Francis was talking about when, just a few weeks after his election as Pope, he spoke to the priests of Rome at the Chrism Mass.  He talked about what happens when the priest becomes a part of the lives of his people, when he is imbued with the smell of the sheep: 

“they feel encouraged to entrust to us in everything they want to bring before the Lord: Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem, Bless me Father, Pray for me – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into a prayer of supplication, the supplication of the People of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men…”

“The priest who seldom goes out of himself…misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. 

“We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, has already received his reward, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason for the dissatisfaction of some, who end up sad – sad priests - in some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with the smell of the sheep. This I ask you: be shepherds, with the smell of the sheep, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”

Thus does the Holy Father call priests to go out to “the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.”  The Good Shepherd goes out in search of his sheep: the poor, the sick, the old, the young, the searching, the fearful, the joy-filled, the married, the single, the saints, the sinners and everyone who has been placed in my acre as the pastor of Saint Paul’s Parish.  I am their shepherd and they are the sheep of his fold, placed in my pastoral care!

I remember Bishop Dan Reilly, beloved emeritus of Worcester, once describing the feeling he had as he drove the streets of his first parish.  He looked at the houses and the kids in the yards and the old people on the stoops and the families walking down the street and thrilled that “God has placed them all in my care.  These are the ones to whom I am called to preach the Gospel, to bring to Jesus, to give them his body and blood, to baptize their babies and bury their dead and anoint their sick and teach their kids and console and challenge…”  They will call you Father and you will try to be worthy of their love.

Personal Relationships in the Parish
And many of these relationships will become very personal, and many will warm your heart and you will be profoundly grateful for them for the rest of your life.

Like the married couple who adopts you in your first assignment and the elderly person who is so kind.  The pediatrician who’s intrigued by theology or the CEO who enjoys a good round of golf; the group of guys who invite you to go to the Red Sox with them, and the folks who also have a membership to the MFA.  

All of these relationships can be enriching, but while you are their priest, you are also a professional.

What does that mean?  Perhaps an analogy will help. I like you.  I like and admire each of you a lot.  In fact, I love you, as my brothers and my sons.  I would love to be your friend, and maybe someday, once you’re ordained, by the grace of God that might happen. 

But not while I am your rector, for while I am your rector, I cannot truly be your friend.  As your pastor, I am called to be your shepherd, and to do that I need to maintain a degree of objectivity, a distance if you will, which is neither required nor desirable in a friendship. I need to be able to tell you the hard things despite your reaction.  I need to be able to do the right thing for you and for the Church without regard to how it affects me or my feelings.  So, I cannot be your friend, for now.  But I can be your Rector, your spiritual father, your shepherd and your priest.

In the same way, no parishioner is ever just your friend.  From their point of view, you are always Father, and they have certain justifiable expectations of you in that role.  You are the one who hears the sins they dare not speak to their friends.  You are the one who counsels them when they see no viable choices.  You are the one through whose hands God gives them sacramental grace.  You bless them, intercede for them and preach to them.  There are many people who can be their friend, but few who can be their priest.

Nor would it be fair to you.  For, like any father, the obligations of your role preclude you from confiding in your sons and daughters as you would your best friend.  Nor can a father expect from his children the same support and challenge he can from his dearest friends.  

Does a priest love his people?  With a unique, deep and perduring love that makes no demands and seeks only to serve, like the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  But it is a different reality than the mutual, the reciprocal love I bear for my friend.

Challenging Relationships
For if the relationship of pastor and parishioner is a professional relationship, the parishioner should rightfully be able to expect that certain boundaries and expectations will be observed.

Maintaining professional boundaries is often a challenge when a parishioner is in pain and perceives  the kindness, compassion and understanding of the priest as something quite different due to emotional challenges they may be experiencing in their own life or marriage.

For example, the parishioner experiencing nothing but rejection in his own affective life may see in the kind and understanding priest the ideal candidate for a close friendship.  

Or the woman who experiences her spouse as cold and disinterested might see in the compassionate and caring young priest a prospective lover.  

Such transference is a natural phenomenon experienced by a wide range of professionals whose business is understanding and healing the emotional lives of vulnerable people.  But the priest who is so complimented by the attention that he allows proper boundaries to be violated risks his very priesthood.  For the violation of these boundaries is an act of abuse no less serious than the violation of a child.  

In one recent case, a woman went to a priest for counsel when she found her husband to be physically and emotionally abusive.  The priest heard her confession and then helped her to rebuild her life spiritually and emotionally.  He referred her to a counsellor and, after separating from her husband, she began to rebuild her life.

But she kept returning to the priest who had been so compassionate in the first place and began to seek something more than spiritual solace.  Sexually naive, inexperienced in relationships, and under considerable stress in his first assignment the priest responded to her affections and a sexual relationship developed between priest and parishioner, lasting for almost a year.

Toward the end of the year the woman returned to counseling and later wrote of the relationship: “"If he had been a doctor, a lawyer or a psychiatrist, he'd have his license pulled. I realized later that anything short of marriage with a priest is exploitation.”

I am a pastor not to be a parishioner’s friend or lover, but to be their priest… proper professional boundaries are indispensable to my effectiveness in that role.  As one wise priest recently wrote:

“…appropriate professional boundaries, respectful discretion, and congenial restraint in word and action demand continued monitoring on the part of all priests…Keeping proper boundaries can be tricky; cool aloofness can be as damaging to a community as playing favorites. Nonetheless, healthy, balanced, attentive, and compassionate yet prudent relationship boundaries empower many priests, staffs, and people across the country to remarkable gospel ministry in their faith communities.6


PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Friends
And then there are our friends.  As indispensable as the air we breathe, friendships, and particularly friendships with other priests, are essential for our health, our ministry and our life.  They are literally life-giving. One recent commentator put it well:

“Close friendship is about an intimate mutuality, commonality, people delighting in the same truth, enjoying each others company, and sharing simple affection and fun. Friends are a great boon in human life and an enormous source of support that all human beings both need and deserve.”7

A close friend, is one who knows you and loves you anyway.  He is the first one to tell you the truth, even when it hurts.  I always loved the line from Oscar Wilde: “True friends stab you in the front!”

A true friend is the one who listens to your rantings when you are in pain.  He patiently helps you to navigate the waterfalls and rapids of life and just likes to hear your voice.  And you try to be the same for him.

William Butler Yeats understood it well when he wrote:

“think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
  and say my glory was I had such friends.”

True friendships are not exclusive. Indeed, they open you up to others and make you more loving.  True friendships delight in the successes of the other and are not jealous or overly competitive.  True friendships are secure and are not out to get anything: not money or sex or attention or prestige.  They are giving with the same kenotic love which Christ exemplified upon the cross.

But true friendships are hard work.  They require constant attention and self-emptying love, patience and listening and caring.  True friendships are formed with the same love which brought Christ to the cross, and they are forged in suffering and sacrifice.

But true friendships, especially priest friendships, are for the celibate priest the pearl beyond all price.  And they will make you more holy, and more priestly and more true to Christ. Friendships are God’s carving tool, by which he teaches you how to love and to grow in his image and likeness.

My Family
And then there is your family.  And while the stories of priests and their families would make a long running reality show, allow me to say just two  things.

First, Beaver Cleaver and his family was a T.V. show and they were never real.  There is no such thing as the fully functional family, just as there is no such thing as the totally perfect priest.  We are all flesh and blood, and family, famously described by W.C. Fields is the only place where they  always have to take you back.  

Each family is a union of imperfect human beings who love each other for life, just as much as they have been able, and are bound by blood.  A union of imperfect human beings.  And in each family there are easy relationships and there are hard ones, but each of them are as real as they are complex.  In the eyes of a parent you will ever be the child, and even in those latter years, when the role of parent and child is often switched, you will always be defined by the decades which have passed.

Yet despite the complexities, the good memories and the hurtful things, and maybe because of them, we must cling in love to our families and to each of their members with the stubborn patience and absolute conviction that God really meant what he said in the Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:2!

Closing
Relationships.  The three hundred names on my Christmas Card list tells you a lot about the relationships of the past thirty six years of priesthood.  Family, friends, parishioners.  All loved.  All loving me.  God, it’s a great life!

It’s like a wise man recently said:

“…The world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness. But it is not an easy path. It is demanding and it requires effort…

“To love means to give, not only something material, but also something of one’s self: one’s own time, one’s friendship, one’s own abilities…Let your daily program be the works of mercy…In this way…your joy will be complete.”  - Pope Francis, April, 2016.
                         
Thank you.

_________________

1 - Clerical Culture, Contradiction and Transformation: The Culture of the Diocesan Priests of the United States Catholic Church, Michael L. Papesh.  (The Liturgical Press, 2004) page 91.

2 - Pastores dabo vobis, no. 28.

3 - Bishop Blaise Cupich, Bishop of Rapid City, in “Improving the Bishop-Priest Relationship,” by Tom Gallagher in National Catholic Reporter. May. 6, 2009.

4 - Sacrosanctum concilium, no. 41.

5 - “Priests in the United States: Satisfaction, Work Load, and Support Structures,” a 2002 study by Paul M. Perl and Bryan T. Foretell of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

6 - Clerical Culture, Contradiction and Transformation: The Culture of the Diocesan Priests of the United States Catholic Church, Michael L. Papesh.  (The Liturgical Press, 2004) page 90.


7 - Ibid., page 95.