Hello to all, I hope that all is well for you. I have been thinking a lot about my 25 years of priesthood lately. I remember that there were many joyous moments when I felt truly connected to the Great and wondrous Mystery that is our God. I can also recall times when that connection seemed almost non-existent leaving me in sadness, loneliness and pain. I know that in times such as anniversaries and birthdays we want to talk only about the happy things, but I am an Irishman and so I must always include something bitter. I write of these things not sadly or bitterly, however, but as part of what we celebrate today. My twenty-five years included great highs such as meeting John Paul II and officiating at many nieces’ and nephews’ Baptisms, First Communions, and Weddings. It has also included those sad moments of life such as celebrating the funerals of my Mother and Father, and the funerals of many friends, as well as other trials. These events, both sad and happy make up my life and my priesthood. I cannot change them and as I think about them I must say that I would not change them. If my whole life and priesthood were nothing but one joy after another what service would I have been able to give? How could I have been able to empathize with someone who was going through a difficult relationship, job, or life circumstance if all I knew was happiness? The same is true of the other side of life. If all I knew was pain then what use would I have been to an engaged couple or young parents wanting their child Baptized and so on. I need both sides of life in order to serve my fellow human beings as Jesus did. I need both sides of life in order to be human (as Jesus did). Our humanity is a tremendous gift and one which I believe we take for granted. The joys and griefs are not meant to make us separate from one another; they are meant to bring us together as human beings. These moments of pain and joy have helped me to know myself better as an individual who is a member of a family, a church/community and the world. I am happy to celebrate all of this with you, my brothers and sisters, today!
Peace and God Bless,