Sunday, January 22, 2017


     On Friday, January 20th, our nation experienced the peaceful transition of power from the administration of President Obama to the administration of President Donald Trump.  The significance of this peaceful process of the transference of power, especially from one national party to another and following a less than peaceful primary and presidential campaign, is an indicator of the soundness of our political process and our great form of government.  Even with the protests and the marches and the negativity hurled at one president or the other, one party or the other, we must take pride in the success of our process of government.  And we must pray for our new president and his administration, for his success is our success and our great nation celebrates this gifted form of governance that the Lord provides.  I shared with our people at Mass this morning a portion of the prayer for the nation of Bishop John Carroll, the first bishop of the United States, which he penned in 1791.   The full text can be found in "Whispers in the Loggia" by Rocco Palma.  He shares it often at times of national observances, for which I am very grateful.


     Recently we noted the death of Father Michael Scanlon, T.O.R. of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Father Michael lived a long and powerful life of service to the Church and touched the lives of countless people over the years.  His death at the age of 85 marks a transition that brings him into the full joy and heartfelt enthusiasm before the throne of the Lord that his life on earth exemplified, and that he invited everyone who heard his message to respond to in their lives.

     Father Michael's life of influence, education, law, the Franciscan Way, Church leadership, the Charismatic Renewal and the transformation of the small, local, struggling College of Steubenville into a world recognized center of Catholic Higher Education and spirituality at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, marks his service.

    I knew him in the middle of that journey, during the time he served as rector of Saint Francis Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania.  This was during my theology years at the seminary.  I was ordained in 1973, and he went to Steubenville in 1974.
Father Michael was yet to find his niche as a leader and transformer, and his move to Steubenville marked that transition.
It was during our time together that we were introduced to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at a talk and subsequent prayer service at the seminary by the late Father Jim Ferry of New Jersey.
I would run into Father Mike at Charismatic events over the years, and followed his commitment to the renewal of the face of the earth through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  May he rest in peace.


     We also buried one of our retired priests, Father Patrick J. O'Connor, also 85, who served our diocese faithfully for many years.  Father Pat was a quiet, unassuming man of warmth and kindness.  In his later years of retirement, Father Pat suffered from memory loss, and the ability to remember the relationships, the ministry, and the gentle love that he had shared with so many.  His transition through death leads to a renewed appreciation and celebration of the love that the Lord and so many have for him.  May he, too, rest in peace.

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