It’s pouring rain at the moment (Sept. 4). The heavy rain, long awaited and most welcome, began when I was on my way from our Presbyteral Council meeting at St. Dominic in Shortsville to Becket Hall where I’ll be having Mass and supper with this year’s residents. At the moment I am enjoying a quiet moment in the St. Louis Church in Pittsford. I had some extra time; and I was anxious to get out of the rainy-day traffic for a little while.
Our first Presbyteral Council meeting of the new season went very well. Members had some time to share with the table what’s been happening in their respective ministries. There also was an opportunity for each one at table to name the pastoral concerns they hoped the council would consider this year. Among the more prominent concerns were: celebrating as richly as possible the Year of Faith initiated by Pope Benedict; making this time of transition in our diocese as prayerful and productive as possible; providing appropriate and value-centered pastoral leadership in an election season that early on seems like it might be negative in tone; standing with the vulnerable in our society by serving their needs and advocating for public policies and legislation that will improve their lot.
We elected this year’s officers, who are Father Kevin McKenna, chair; Father Bill Spilly, vice chair; Father Rob Bourcy, secretary; and Father Scott Kubinski, member at large. Those who know these men understand that they are a seasoned, well-informed group who will provide excellent leadership for us. Please pray that God will bless the work of the council this year.
I do look forward to the Becket Hall experience where I have the chance to pray and share a meal with this year’s four residents: Camilo Aguilar, Shawn Allen, Jonathan Gillenson and Victor Sanchez. Camilo and Victor come to us from Columbia. I am delighted and grateful that they have taken this step; and with you will be praying that we will one day have the joy of ordaining them for the service of our diocese. These four men swell the number of candidates on the road to priesthood in our diocese to 25. Please keep them in your personal prayers and in the prayers of your parish community.
I close by asking you the kindness of spending some time with the special inset in this month’s Catholic Courier, "To Enter Into His Glory: A Pastoral Reflection on Change and Transition." I wrote this reflection with the hope that it would provide a common reference point for all in our diocese as we prepare for a significant change in leadership. The piece invites us all to think and pray about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how their encounter with the Risen Lord literally and figuratively turned them around.
My hope is that the reflection might be of assistance to individuals, to families, to parish communities, parish pastoral councils, etc., in this time of transition in our diocese. But, aware that we are all constantly going through transitions in life — some major, some of lesser import — I have the added hope that "To Enter Into His Glory" might offer you some support in your own journey of faith.
In any case, please join me in prayer that the months ahead will be a time of growth, renewed energy and deepened faith for all of us.
Peace to all.