There is nowhere else I would rather be, and no better way to spend a Sunday! Let me right now thank everybody who participated in the celebration of my anniversary of ordination last week. It wasn’t crazy or over the top; it was just a great chance to celebrate the 11:00 Mass (on the last weekend before the choir starts summer vacation) and to visit in the Stricker Room with so many people. It is, as most of you have figured out, my favorite thing to do, and my favorite place to do it.
Thanks to the people who worked so hard to make it beautiful, and everybody who brought treats to eat; and especially to the Holy Name guys, the Religious Ed families, the Well-Read Women, the Tuesday Club, and the Sodality for all their efforts and contributions; and to Margaret McDermott, Jasmine Kuzner, Mary Phillips, and Jackie Nguyen who pulled it all together; and the Rectory Staff especially for just showing up and admitting they know me. Thanks for all you said, the notes you wrote, and the time you spent; thanks especially to everybody who came even though it wasn’t “your” Mass time.
In a nice bit of symmetry, Sunday this weekend marks the completion of the first DAY of priesthood for the three newest priests of the Archdiocese: Father Oscar Astigarraga, Father Andrew Clyne, and Father Kevin Fields. Their assignments will be revealed soon, which are still closely-held secrets as I write this. Keep them in your prayers, please, as they begin the wild and wonderful ride that is following in Christ’s priestly footsteps.
More news is that we are receiving a new Auxiliary Bishop. Our Holy Father Pope Francis announced last Friday that Msgr. Michael Fisher, Vicar for Clergy in our Archdiocese for the past twelve years, has been called to the Order of Bishops. We had been “down one” since Bishop Barry Knestout was appointed to lead the Diocese of Richmond over the winter.
Bishop-elect Fisher is a delightful man we priests know well, like, and respect, because for so long he has been taking care of us, our assignments, and our concerns. We are delighted at the news, and glad that once again our local church will have three auxiliary bishops to help with the heavy workload that surrounds our Cardinal Archbishop.
There are two things about his ordination to the episcopate that are worthy of your attention. First is that it is really really soon – Friday 29 June, at 2:00 in the afternoon. That is an unusually short time for him and us to get ready! Second, his consecration will occur at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Because this church is three or four times the size of our Cathedral, where such events usually occur, and only twenty minutes from here, and has abundant parking, it is a perfect opportunity for you to attend, possibly your first ever episcopal consecration. Y’all come!
Speaking of celebrations you should attend, work is underway to have a send-off reception to Father Gallaugher before he moves on to his new assignment. He will move officially on 5 July, but will begin to “fade away” even before that. Plan to come on Sunday 24 June to the 11:00 Mass, and to the MSR afterward, to wish him well.
There is much to celebrate these days, with the last day of school, the Stanley Cup, and the eternal saving presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the sacramental ministries of the Church. Where else would you rather be?Monsignor Smith