Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spiritual Preparation for the Knights of Malta

Here are the narrated slides from my presentation last week to the Knights of Malta, who leave on pilgrimage to Lourdes this week.  I will be accompanying them as one of their many chaplains and gave this presentation as a sort of spiritual preparation for our time at Our Lady's Shrine.

Lourdes 2017 Spiritual Prep. from James P Moroney on Vimeo.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Announcing the Summer Institute for Priests and Seminarians

Saint Andrew's Dinner

I was delighted to spend some time with the folks at the Saint Andrew's Dinner the other night, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston!  My thanks to Fathers Hennessey, Cadin and Suarez.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jim Brett Receives K of C Lantern Award

Our very own Trustee, Mr. James T. Brett, was the recipient of the Knights of Columbus Lantern Award last week in recognition of a lifetime dedication to public service and defense of the rights of our most vulnerable citizens.  After receiving the award he delivered these remarks, urging all present to remember that "It is time – it is past time – for each of us to take the light from under the bushel basket. It is time for each Christian to be a lantern."  I am grateful to Jim for his permission to reproduce his remarks for the benefit of our readers.

Thank you very much for that kind introduction. And thank you for choosing me to receive this prestigious award. It puts me in the company of people I don’t deserve to be in the company of. I am humbled and honored.

The lantern is an ancient symbol, but it is one that continues to have meaning for us. It is a symbol of light, of a light shining in the darkness, that the darkness could not grasp. A lantern can also be a signal beacon, a helping guide to show the way to travelers. It can be a sign of welcome, like Lady Liberty’s torch, held aloft beside the Golden Door. And it can be a call to action, as it was for Paul Revere and the embattled patriots of 1775. A lantern can be all of those things.

Our need for a lantern that is a light, a beacon, and a summons to action has never been greater. Anti-religious, and specifically anti-Christian, voices are dominating the elite culture. Some years ago, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger noted with sadness but also with some realism that Europe had entered a post-Christian phase. We in America owe a good bit of our heritage and traditions to the “old country,” and now we seem to have imported a post-Christian worldview from Europe as well. As Cardinal Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has plainly put it, traditional American Christians, whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Protestant, now find themselves to be “strangers in a strange land.” Those who hold and preach traditional Christian doctrines are branded by the self-appointed censors of the new post-modern worldview as bigots and even outlaws. It is religious belief itself that is being scorned.

Truth be told, we American Christians did not see the post-modern tsunami coming, and it washed over us before we recognized its danger, as tsunamis will do. Perhaps we recognized too late that we were not going to be helped by people we once thought, wrongly it turns out, were our friends. If Hollywood were to remake “On the Waterfront” today, Father Barry would be a bad guy.

There are inconvenient truths. And for many “forward looking thinkers” there are too many inconvenient people. People who believe in and value ancient truths, for example. Also, people who can’t be sufficiently productive; or people who use too much health care; and so on.

One example. The columnist George Will once wrote that the world would be a better place if it had in it more people with Down’s syndrome, who, Will said with his characteristic wit, “are really quite nice as human beings go.” Many people, however, including the cultural elites, are getting impatient with people with disabilities such as Down’s. People with disabilities are, or will soon become, an inconvenience. More and more they are prevented from being born in the first place, and more and more the agitation is rising to help them into death. Equal rights for all is current mantra. Nothing wrong with that. But for the disabled? The new rhetorical pitch is, “Death with dignity.” Dignity? Do you think when they say that they mean dignity as in being a precious child of God? It’s up to American Christians to take this, and similar challenges, with the seriousness they deserve. 

The clock is ticking. We may already be in the second half. And we can’t pin our hopes on the emergence of a St. Doug Flutie who will rescue us at the last minute with a Hail Mary pass. A more realistic strategy will be to adopt the doctrine of old Woody Hayes of Ohio State, and concentrate on a relentless ground game. Remember?  “Three yards and a cloud of dust.”

This game is not going to be won from the top down, but rather from the bottom up. It is not going to be won by politics, at least not politics alone. The Christian people of America have to reenergize themselves not as voters, but as Christian people. The field of battle will be the ordinary events of daily life.

The Knights have always done and continue to do great work at evangelization. And they can and should continue that great work. But I am talking about something else. I am talking about how we live and interact with those around us. It is time – it is past time – for each of us to take the light from under the bushel basket. It is time for each Christian to be a lantern.

I remember a time when someone might say of another person with a bit of disapproval, “He wears his religion on his sleeve,” as if that were show-offy, or too pushy. Now we know what pushy can get you.

Now more than ever, it is important for Christians in their daily lives not only to live their religion, but be seen to do so. To quote Cardinal Chaput again, “Real faith is always personal but never private.” 

What do I mean? A couple of examples: On Ash Wednesday, get your ashes in the morning, not on the way home at night, and walk around all day making the proclamation: I am not embarrassed for being a practicing Christian. Make sure your friends and colleagues know that you have someplace to be on Good Friday afternoon, and it’s not a college basketball game. Perhaps prepare for yourself a little “elevator speech” about your faith, so that when somebody looks at you with puzzlement and says, “You really believe that, don’t you?”, you can reply, “I sure do, and here’s why.”  

The lantern that called simple farmers into action against a mighty empire was hung in the steeple of a church. Remember that.

Thank you very much for this award. Be children of the light. Be a light to the world. In the face of the advancing darkness, be a lantern.


Scenes from the Comprehensive Exams

Here are some photos of some of the Fourth Year men taking the newly instituted comprehensive exams.   Our thanks to them and to the hard-working examiners, Father Steve Salocks, Father David Pignato and Father Romanus Cessario, O.P.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thanks to the wonderful Carmelites!

Last Saturday eight seminarians joined the third order Carmelites for brunch at the Danver's Carmel.  Father Riley celebrated Mass and, in his homily, expressed our gratitude and appreciation for the work of the Carmelites in praying and sacrificing for the seminarians. 

After brunch, Fr. Riley and the seminarians had an enjoyable and cordial private meeting with the Cloistered Nuns.  We are all grateful to Bonnie Doherty and Loretta Gallagher for organizing this important event, along with all our dear friends of the St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes OCDS community who selflessly offer prayers, Holy Hours, Divine Mercy Chaplets, Spiritual Bouquets, Rosaries, and cards of support and encouragement for their adopted priests and seminarians.  

OCM Workshop with Canon Law Class

A few weeks ago I presented a workshop on the new Order of Celebrating Matrimony to Father Conn's Canon Law Class.  To download the slides in PPT, please click here.  To download the slides in PDF, please click here.  Thanks to all the members of the class it was a great discussion!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Deacon's Night

Holy Hour, a Reception, a talk By Father Eric Cadin, Dinner and a skit (commemorating the future canonization of the Deacon Class of 2017) marked Deacon night.  It was a wonderful evening marked by love of the Priesthood, affection for our brothers and great good humor!

Here are my opening remarks and blessing.

In every age, God raises up men to be his Priests,
servants of his people and images of his Son,
that Christ might continue to offer the perfect sacrifice
and join a holy people to himself.

So, too, tonite,
we celebrate the reason for our being
as a holy house, a seminary, 
where through God’s grace
we grow into what he has called us to be.

Brothers, Holy Deacons,
and soon to be our fathers,
we are proud to call you our friends
and pray for you on each of these final day
as the moment when the Bishop will lay his hands upon you approaches.

And so, this night,
we make the Prayer of Ordination to Priesthood our own, 
as we ask God to “renew deep within you the Spirit of holiness;
that by the example of their manner of your lives,
you may they instill right conduct in others
and lead them to Christ and to his Church.’

Bless these good men, O Lord,
as you bless our food 
and this gathering of our Holy House

through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Theological Institute is on the Move!

For the past decade the Theological Institute has grown in size and quality of programming at an incredible rate.  The quality of academic, human, spiritual and pastoral formation which leads to the MAM and MTS degrees has been recognized by Pastors throughout New England as an effective preparation for ministry in our parishes and other diocesan institutions.

Which is why the Theological Institute will be expanding into beautiful new facilities within the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston at 66 Brooks Drive in Braintree this summer.  Please keep all the wonderful faculty and staff of the Theological Institute in your prayers as they make this important move, marking the next exciting chapter in this essential center of lay Catholic formation for ministry in the Dioceses of new England.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Morning

The tomb was empty!  And therein lies the mystery and meaning of our lives.

In the emptiness of that tomb, every question is answered, for those whose ears will hear.

In the emptiness of that tomb, every doubt is washed away, for those whose hearts will believe. 

In the emptiness of that tomb, every fear and sin is buried, for those who are willing to rise with Christ.

For from the darkness of our selfishness.  
From the pitch blackness of war and violence,
From the blindness of sin and rebellion,
a light rose from that tomb,
that will never be extinguished,
that will never die!
That light is the Son of the Living God,
through whom this world and time itself were made,
in whom we live and move and have our being.

He was made flesh for us,
a weak and little baby in the arms of his Virgin mother,
he let go of his power as God,
and put on our human flesh,
to be God and man, and to teach us how to love.

And then he taught us,
to always take the last place,
to seek out and care for the poor,
to pick up our crosses,
to seek only holiness and love.

And when, finally,
his time had come,
he suffered and died for us,
he was nailed to a cross,
opening his arms in an everlasting sign
of his eternal love.

And when they buried him in the tomb,
that cold and scary Friday night,
most of them thought the story was over.
That he was dead, and would stay that way.

But on the Easter morning,
the light pierced the darkness,
and nothing else would ever really matter again.

Only the mystery of this Easter morning:

To die to myself,
and to be born to him alone.
To love unto death,

and to rise to eternal glory.

Resurrexit sicut dixit!