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
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
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 ‚Äì 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
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
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
Peace to all.