It is with deep gratitude and humility that I celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the gift of priesthood with you at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish today. As a young man, I keenly remember the desire to stand among others in ushering in something that is good and pure to the world through faith in Christ. I felt that desire as a teenager. I feel the same desire today, although God knows the journey has not been without challenges and flaws. That desire eventually led me into the priesthood. In all honesty, the journey through priesthood has not been what I expected. It has been far more profound and awe inspiringthan I ever imagined. I dare not mention individual names but I would like to share some of the blessings I have real- ized throughout this journey.
First of all, I am so fortunate today to have here with me my father, siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephews and friends from various times of my life. Thank you for being here today. I am honored by your presence. Our mother Patricia returned to be with the Lord four years ago but we feel her prayerful presence as well.
My fellow priests with whom I have journeyed are sources of tremendous inspiration. As a teenager, I remember reading about the heroes who spent their lives pursuing social justice and equality by recognizing the dignity of each human being. They spoke of the innate goodness of all regardless of race, language, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or way of life. These people always seemed so distant as I read about them in books. I also read about the lives of the saints who dedicated their lives to prayer, service and the Christian message. Again, they almost seemed unreal. But they are real. They are my fellow priests and I pray in gratitude for them. Thank you for being silent heroes every day of your lives. You are a constant source of inspiration to me.
The most important mission of the priest is to share the Message of Christ. That is the mission we are given even if that Message is neither popular nor comfortable. Transformation takes place through sharing God’s profound message of love through the power of the cross. But, this transformation and conversation only take place through relationship. I have been deeply blessed as a priest to be in regular, daily contact with countless faithful parishioners in a wide variety of ministries. I have the awesome privilege of knowing and sharing ministry with you, the parishioners on a daily basis. I see dedication, sacrifice, resiliency, conviction, honesty, integrity, generosity, sincerity and countless other attributes on a daily basis. Every now and then I find myself in the old, draining conversation as a person says how bad things are getting in our world. I realize that I feel great hope because of the community of faithful wit- nesses I am in, that is, our Lady of Lourdes Parish. It is an honor for me and the other priests to serve in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Thank you for keeping hope alive and holding a candle to the darkness that surrounds. Today I know there are far more angels and saints than we can imagine. You are every- where. Thank you for the rich blessing you are in my life.
The purpose of our gathering today as always is to call to mind His love through the Eucharist. Thank you for your pres- ence here today. Let us celebrate well.
God Bless us all!