Hundreds of clergy, laity
celebrate at jubilee Mass
Bishop Matthew H. Clark celebrated his 25th anniversary as bishop of the Diocese of Rochester with a special Mass at St. John of Rochester Parish in Fairport on May 23.
The church was packed with nearly 1,000 diocesan priests, deacons and employees, as well as a number of Bishop Clark’s family and friends. Concelebrating the Mass along with Bishop Clark were Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, bishop of the Diocese of Albany; Bishop Basil H. Losten, bishop of the Ukrainian Diocese of Stamford, Conn.; Bishop James M. Moynihan, bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse; and Bishop William F. Murphy, bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Center; Father Joseph A. Hart, a diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Pastoral Center; and Father John M. Mulligan, a diocesan vicar general and pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral.
During his homily, the bishop recalled that 25 years ago, he served on a committee to choose the qualities the people of Rochester wished to have in their next bishop.
“We required a strong, loving and wise saintly man who would understand and respond to the multiplicity of our needs in the diocese. And what we got?” he asked, pausing. Those in the congregation responded with resounding applause, standing up to give Bishop Clark a standing ovation.
Father Mulligan went on to describe some of Bishop Clark’s accomplishments — especially in youth ministry and the role of laity and women — and thanked him for instilling his own values into the people of his flock. Father Mulligan also noted similarities between the martyr Stephen from the first reading and Bishop Clark — both are visionaries, displaying insight, honesty and courage.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the people of the church. This is just a wonderful day,” Bishop Clark said after the Mass, noting the day brought more memories to mind than he would be able to share. He said he was grateful for the gentle faith of all the Catholics in the diocese.
“I remember 25 years ago when he came to the diocese,” said Bishop Moynihan, who is a former priest of the Diocese of Rochester. “It’s hard to believe that 25 years have gone by. It’s 25 years of God’s blessings.”