Friday, June 7, 2013

An honor

     Every year the bishop invites the priests of the Diocese to gather to celebrate priesthood, especially those celebrating milestones.  This past Tuesday was our gathering for 2013.  We gathered at the former minor seminary now named the Bishop Connare Center for mass in Saint Joseph Chapel followed by drinks, refreshments, and an excellent dinner.  The program at the dinner is brief, with our MC, Father Paul Lisik lightening the proceedings with humor, antidotes and loving jibes.  This year, my ordination mate, Msgr. Paul Fitzmaurice, gave a brief talk on priesthood.  The three newly ordained were with us and were toasted by our vocation director, Father Jonathan Wisneski.

    The afternoon began with the Jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop Brandt and the priests present, with the jubilarians vested.  I served as a chaplain to Bishop Brandt, along with Paul.  Joining us for the celebration was retired Archbishop Giuseppe DeAndrea from the Vatican.  The Archbishop, originally from Italy, was one of our priests for many years before joining his brother, John, in the Vatican Diplomatic Corps.  He has since retired from his posts, and now lives in the Vatican and is a Canon (a liturgical office) of Saint Peter's Basilica.  Joe was in the States, and was able to join us as he celebrates his 60th anniversary of ordination later this month.  It was great to see him again.  He gave each of us a picture of himself with Pope Francis, which I have included here.

Archbishop DeAndrea and Pope Francis
A gift from the Archbishop
Photo taken by the Vatican Press Office
     I had the honor of preaching the homily that day, and while it is daunting to preach to your peers, I enjoyed the opportunity.  The only difficulty was that the readings for the day were not geared for a jubilee - the story of Tobit, falling asleep resting against a wall on which sat birds whose droppings fell in his eyes and caused him to develop cataracts and go blind ... and render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.  It took some creative thinking to make that happen (but then some of the guys had just received word of the reassignments, and felt much like Tobit).
    The final element to the 40th happened yesterday when the Jubilee edition of the Diocesan Newspaper - The CATHOLIC ACCENT - arrived.  In there were a picture and write-up of each ordinandi.  To conclude, I would like to list our significant Jubilarians for this year.
25 Years: From Saint Vincent Archabbey - Fathers Thomas Hart, Peter Augustine Pierjok, Luke Policicchio and Donald Raila. ... and from the Pauline Fathers - Father Edward Volz.
40 Years: Msgr. Paul Fitzmaurice and Roger Statnick, Fathers Peter Peretti and yours truly.
45 Years: Fathers Jim Petrovsky and Jim Popochock.
50 Years: Father Tom Lukac.
60 Years: Retired Archabbott Paul Maher of Saint Vincent and Archbishop Joseph DeAndrea of Rome.

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