Finally, I have photographic evidence of what I did while I was in Rome! This is a picture taken immediately after the Mass during which Deacon Christopher Seith preached his first-ever real homily. I was pleased he asked me to be the celebrant.
I present this to you so you can see what has become of the young man who was here last summer (2012) and who will be ordained priest (God willing) next summer, in June of 2014. Among his ordination classmates will be Deacon Ken Gill, who was here this past summer (2013). I am hoping for a strong, supportive showing of Saint Bernadette folk at the Priesthood Ordination next June.
That also just might be the Ordination Mass for our next parochial vicar here. In the world of priestly assignments, things are impossible to predict, and I am invariably the last to know, so do not think I am letting slip some great secret. But by spring we will have gone two years without a parochial vicar here, and I know that there will be an effort to bring our rectory back “up to strength.” That could be any priest, yes, but the reason we have so many seminarians sent here is the same as the reason we so often receive a newly-ordained. This parish is recognized as being an excellent community in which a new priest can “find his feet” – and his priestly identity.
Speaking of things you all do well, let me take this opportunity to recognize and rejoice in your gracious, faithful response to the plea of Fr. Mansuetus Setonga on the first weekend in October. The tally of what we will be sending to his mission came to $7779.91. That is the largest second-collection effort from our parish in the time I have been here.
It is good to give, and better to give in way that we know will bear fruit. We can be grateful to Fr. Mansuetus for letting us know what we can do. He is working in the USA to bring souls to Christ in Tanzania. We will reap the fruits of this great work in a fortified Communion with the Lord, and the prayers of souls united in Christ who give Him thanks for their benefactors.
And let me point out that I will be “off the property” for a couple of nights this week, as the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington convene for our biennial Convocation across the Bay in Cambridge. This will be the sixth such gathering since Cardinal McCarrick initiated them back in 2003. It will be a time of formation and direction, as Cardinal Wuerl addresses us together about his priorities, and speakers provide the priestly equivalent of professional development. It will be a time of prayer, as we have the rare opportunity to be together for Mass, the Divine Office, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and Confession. It will also be a time of fraternity, as “the brethren” have a chance to be together in an unhurried, informal setting.
Many parishes will be reducing or even cancelling daily Mass to accommodate this time away for the priests. But here, it is a perfect opportunity for us to recognize with gratitude the blessing of our two student residents, Fathers McCabe and McDonell, who contribute so much to the life of this parish. They will keep the home fires burning. So light a candle for them, as you light one for me.