Jubilarian priests, couples called to growth, holiness - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Jubilarian priests, couples called to growth, holiness

This has been a week of jubilee happiness at Sacred Heart Cathedral. On Sunday, we celebrated with couples observing wedding anniversaries. On Wednesday, there was a Mass and luncheon honoring our priests who celebrate 25 and 50 years of ordination this year.

Both were most joyous events. Those celebrating such jubilees carry with them memories of life — the joys and sorrows, the challenges, the work, the relationships, and the experiences through which the Lord has shaped and molded them into the people they are today. Such occasions allow us to revisit and rest with those memories. When we can do so, we often appreciate more deeply than ever the formative influence the person or experience had on us. And it can help us to appreciate what is remembered in the context of our total life’s experience.

Those celebrating marriage jubilees have told me over the years that the center of their prayers at such celebrations is the way they have come to know and love the Lord in and through their relationship with their spouse. They frame the thought in different language but, however they express it, they convey a sense that God is continually calling them to new life and holiness through the marriage bond.

That same kind of awareness exists among our priest jubilarians. The difference is that they experience the Lord’s call to growth and holiness not through their relationship with a spouse but through their interactions with the people of God with whom and among whom they are privileged to serve.

Certainly, they name the understanding and support of brother priests, other pastoral ministers and lay leaders as strong, supportive elements in their lives. But, of no less importance, is their day in and day out involvement in the lives of the people they serve — baptizing their children, witnessing their marriages, burying their dead, sharing their joys, walking with them in their sorrows. In short, they find their growth in ministry as they encourage their communities to seek the Lord in all of the circumstances of their lives.

These jubilee celebrations have blessed us all in many ways. I am especially grateful for the way the jubilarians — married couples and priests — have deepened my appreciation of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. Folded into and deepening the joy of those occasions is an awareness that the journey has not always been easy, that it has included suffering and some self-denial, and that one does not come to Easter life without carrying the cross from time to time — even daily.

I hope that you have been blessed during this Easter season with experiences that have drawn you to reflect on life and its meaning and on the ways in which the Lord now invites you to go deeper in your friendship with him.

Peace to all.

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