• Bishop Matthew H. Clark

Father Shamon's column will be missed

Catholic Courier    |    10.06.2003
Category: From the Bishop

You may have noticed in last week’s Catholic Courier the news that after nearly 40 years, Father Al Shamon will no longer be writing his weekly column for this publication.

I regret that the Catholic Courier will no longer be able to offer this feature, which has enriched peoples’ lives for years. It’s hard to give up such an attractive column; it’s no less difficult to say goodbye to the gifted colleague who wrote it for so many years.

But I know that none of us begrudge for a moment Father Al’s decision to cut back on some of his activities. Those of us who have had the privilege of knowing him personally recognize that he is one of the most dedicated, generous and enthusiastic priests God ever put on this earth. I have truly come to admire his zeal for ministry and his unwavering loyalty to the church to whose service he has devoted his life.

I doubt that I will ever achieve the number of his years -- now nearing 90. But, if I do, I hope I will be as mission-minded and open to others as Father Shamon is.

Thanks Father Al for your years of service to the Catholic Courier and for the untold amount of good you have done for God’s people through your column. We all thank you most sincerely. We promise you our prayers and ask for a place in your own.

Another note of thanks -- this one to Father Bob Werth and the entire community of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Rochester, for the wonderful liturgy thanking and praising God for 75 years of parish life.

The liturgy was carefully and lovingly planned by a parish committee, and beautifully enriched by the joyful participation of the assembly. The whole event put us in touch with a reality I have mentioned several times over the years. That is the fact that, although all of our parishes share deep bonds of faith and charity, each parish family has a distinct personality – different histories, different gifts, varied needs, etc.

Our Lady of Good Counsel experienced a good deal of change over the years and seems always to have met new challenges with faith and courage. I am grateful to the community for all of that and for Sunday’s beautiful celebration.

I cannot leave this theme of gratitude without a word of sincere thanks to the Catholic Daughters of America for the liturgy and luncheon I celebrated with them on Saturday at St. Michael’s in Penn Yan.

This is an annual event held in a different part of our diocese each year. The special feature of this year’s gathering was the 100th anniversary of CDA. This organization, begun in Utica, New York, has a rich tradition of service and charity. Its members have been key supporters of many Catholic causes. I have been associated personally with institutions that have enjoyed their generous support. I think of the North American College in Rome, the American College in Leuven and Theological College in Washington -- all seminaries that train candidates for the ordained priesthood. And, as they always do at this annual luncheon, the daughters presented me with a generous check in support of seminary education. I am very grateful to the membership of CDA.

Last week was a bit unusual in that I attended the installation of two bishops. On Wednesday, I was in Scranton for the installation of Bishop Joe Martino; on Friday, I was in Brooklyn for that of Bishop Nick De Marzio. It is the custom to attend such celebrations held in the dioceses of New York State. I usually do not go elsewhere for them, but went to Scranton because they are our neighbors to the south.

What I said above of parishes is true also of dioceses -- each has its own distinct personality. Nowhere is that personality more manifest than in the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy. I considered it a privilege to represent our community at both of these beautiful celebrations.

Peace to all.

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