Last evening I attended a local gathering of the priests and deacons from our diocese. This gathering is sort of a "new year's" party to welcome the new Church year on the First Sunday of Advent. The tradition began in this diocese many years ago with Monsignor Sam Conway hosting the gatherings, succeeded by Father Mike Sikon for a number of years and last evening Father Rick Kosisko taking up torch. It is billed as an "Ordo Burning Party". The Ordo is a small book published each year that gives the order of prayer in the liturgy of the hours and the celebration of the Eucharist for each year. In case you thought we priests were so smart that we knew everything, this book tells us what feasts to celebrate when, where the prayers are to be found, the readings, etc. They are handy little things, but they change yearly. So, even though it is just an excuse to gather, we bring our Ordo books and with a prayer and semi-official ritual, burn them outside in the back yard of the rectory. Then we party.
There was a second reason for the gathering, and that was a friendly celebration of the recent retirement of Monsignor Ed McCullough of our diocese. Ed is well known and well liked by the men, and this was in part in his honor as well.
Last night's gathering saw at least twenty-five of the men gather for great food, drink, fellowship, and a Steeler win over the Ravens. It was relaxed and very informal. Bishop Brandt joined in the festivities as did a number of our new priests from the Philippines. It is a great tradition, and we are grateful to Rick for hosting us last night.