Monday, January 23, 2017

Benefactors' Dinner

On Sunday evening we welcomed ninety-two of our benefactors to our annual Benefactor’s Banquet. Here are the remarks that were offered, followed by some pictures of the event.

Your Eminence, thank you for coming home to this Holy House as we honor our most generous of benefactors for their support. I am also delighted to welcome each and every one of you to this night as we honor our most generous Benefactors and all who have done so much to support this holy house by their generous financial and spiritual support.

Your gifts of close to a quarter of a million dollars in this past year have made the formation of one hundred and thirty two seminarians possible. I am deeply greatly to each and every one of you, whose sacrifices have made possible this holy work, as I am grateful to God for Sandy Barry, our Director of Annual Giving, Dick Bass, our Data Manager, Craig Gibson, chairman of our Development Committee and each of the members of the Committee.

But as important as your monetary support is, we depend even more on your generous prayers. Without prayer we are just an educational institution. As noble as education is, it is but one of the four pillars of our life here at Saint John’s, as we seek to form men to be the best pastors, the best spiritual leaders, and the best human beings: effective disciples of the Gospel of Joy so needed as we form the Roman Catholic Church in New England for the twenty-first century.

So welcome! I promise no long speeches, just this brief and heart-felt expression of gratitude, which now takes concrete form in the presentation of two Medals to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the support of this holy work: the Saint John the Evangelist Medal given in recognition of an individual's contributions to the spiritual support of the Seminary and the Archbishop John J. Williams Medal given in recognition of a person’s contributions to the temporal life of the Seminary.

We have several prior recipients to these honors present this evening: 

Loretta and Brian Gallagher, Jim and Pattie Brett, Secretary Bill Galvin, Craig and Nancy Gibson and Dr. Phil Crotty.  We are grateful to them and to each one of you for your continuing support of Saint John’s Seminary.

This year we once again have two very worthy recipients who follow in their footsteps.

 Our first award recipient is Ann LaRosee, whom I ask to come forward to receive the Saint John the Evangelist Medal.

“There is one thing I ask of the LORD,” the Psalmist tells us, “this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon his beauty.” (Cf. Psalm 24: 7)

For 48 years (she started at three years old!), first at Our Lady of the Presentation and then at Saint Columbkille’s and now, thanks be to God, here at Saint John’s Seminary, Ann LaRosee has served as sacristan, cleaning, polishing organizing and preparing sacred vessels, candlesticks, vestments and endless details to bring beauty and dignity to the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.

And now, Ann, you have become an example of humility, faithfulness and self-sacrifice to the priests who will minister the sacraments to your children, grand-children and great grandchildren for generations to come. 

But to that self-sacrificing love of the Church, you have added a love of your neighbors in this community, including so many who gather with us in this chapel tonight.  Without you, Ann, Our Lady of the Presentation Campus would never have come back to life as the vibrant home of our Deacons and our Theological Institute.  Without your presence at innumerable meetings, sage counsel and persistent intercession, Saint John's Seminary would never have grown in the remarkable ways we have witnessed in these past four years.

You are an extraordinary woman of determination, sacrifice and deep faith, whose love for the Church, your family and this Seminary is apparent to everyone who meets you.  

And so, with profound gratitude, I am honored to ask Cardinal O’Malley to present you with the Saint John the Evangelist medal in recognition of the extraordinary generosity by which you have supported the work of this holy house.

Remarks by Mrs. Ann Larosee
Thank you God and his Blessed Mother for enabling me to do what I love to do.

Cardinal Seán, Monsignor Moroney and the Board of trustees of Saint John’s Seminary: I appreciate the honor of being presented withg the Saint John the Evangelist medal.  I am grateful for your presence here today to celebrate with us.  I am blessed to also have my supportive family and friends here to commemorate this occasion.

Our second award recipient is Father Jason Jalbert.  Would you please come forward Father?

Father Jalbert, tonight, you are the recipient of the Seminary’s Archbishop John J. Williams Medal, in recognition of your extraordinary contributions to the support of this, your alma mater.  

From the very first day I arrived at Saint John’s, Jason, you have been a constant source of encouragement, reassurance and support.  As Vocation Director for the Diocese of Manchester you supported Saint John’s in its lean years, and now, in a time of unprecedented growth, you have dedicated yourself even more as a member of our Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Committee on Formation and one of my most valued counselors and friends.  Your unwavering dedication and dedication to this Seminary’s mission is a constant consolation and source of strength.

And you do this, all the same time that you serve the Church in Manchester as Director of the Office for Worship, Secretary to our beloved Bishop Libasci, administrator of Saint Patrick Mission in Hampton Beach and now Rector of Saint Joseph’s Cathedral.  Last week, when I was privileged to be present as Bishop Libasci installed you as Cathedral Rector, I witnessed a man of the Church, acclaimed and embraced by his people for his Faith, and his willingness to sacrifice for them and for the Church.

But most of all, this good and holy Priest has inspired the seminarians of Manchester and all of our sending Dioceses and will make them, God-willing, better priests to serve God’s people for generations to come.

And so I am honored to ask Cardinal O’Malley to present the Archbishop Williams Medal to Father Jason Jalbert in recognition of his support of the work God does in this holy house. 

Remarks by Father Jason Jalbert
I am honored and humbled to be here in this chapel this evening to accept with all of you the Archbishop Williams Medal.

Of all that Archbishop Williams accomplished here in Boston in its early days, this seminary was the object of his greatest interest, pride and joy.  It has been said that he would do anything for this institution, not only because he built it, but because of what this place does, it prepares and forms men to be Roman Catholic Priests.  And St. John's has prepared many and has provided many good priests for the Church, locally and beyond.

I am honored to serve St. John's as a member of the Board of Trustees, but I am proud to be an alumnus of St. John's.  I first visited St. John's in 1991 for Evening Prayer at the invitation of my parish priest, it seemed so dark and dreary.  I later returned as a seminarian in 1996 to begin 7 of the greatest years of my life.  3 years at St. Clement's Hall over on Foster St. then 4 years here at the then newly refurbished and renovated St. John's Hall.  When we arrived back here in 1999 Archbishop Williams' "Seminary" had been totally renewed and restored to it's original grandeur.  We were thrilled to be the ones to break it in!

After ordination in 2003 and throughout the last 13 years of priesthood St. John's Seminary has continued to be a place that I have felt at home.  I have had the privilege of returning here many times as an alumnus, as a vocation director and as a board member- and it has been great to see and to be part of the continued growth of the seminary.

I certainly believe that Archbishop Williams would be proud and I believe that we can be proud of the work and prayer that takes place here in Brighton!

To the Rector, Faculty, Staff, Seminarians, donors and friends of St. John's Seminary.  Thank you!

I accept this Archbishop Williams Award with gratitude and hope.  God Bless you all.

As we honor these worthy recipients, we honor each and every one of you for your constant dedication to the work of preparing the men who join you for dinner tonight to serve the Church as Priests of Jesus Christ.  Most of call, we are grateful to our Faculty, staff, Cardinal O’Malley, our constant Father whose prayers and wise guidance make us who we are.

Lord, we thank you for these, our benefactors and friends.  Bless them, and bless the food we are about to eat in celebration of the Holy Work you you do in this place.  Through Christ our Lord.