On Sunday, June 4, the Solemnity of Pentecost, people from around our diocese gathered at the Catholic Community of St. Jude in DeWitt to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Fathers Charlie Irvin and Jim Swiat. Mass was followed by lunch. At lunch, several of us offered tributes to Father Charlie and Father Jim. I was asked to speak about Father Charlie, and I thought it would be nice to share those words:
From the Editor
There I was, all fresh-faced and eager, sitting in the second row of desks, near the center of Mr. Simpson's ninth grade biology class at Douglas MacArthur High School in Saginaw Township. It was September of 1979, and I was beginning my high school career. Mr. Simpson had just finished distributing our textbooks as well as the course syllabus for the first semester. I remember thinking that this was going to be an exciting class, opening up the wonders of the mystery of life in its many forms. Mr.
After prayer and worship, the first concern of the Apostles was for the poor and marginalized. It is noteworthy that the Apostles ordained deacons in order to help them in caring for the poor before the first presbyters (priests) were ordained. Such was the deacon’s closeness and attachment to the Apostles. Vatican II restored the diaconate as a particular and permanent rank of the hierarchy. Deacons have their own divine calling. They are not “junior priests” or glorified laymen. They are very special in the life of the Church, and have a call of their own.
The conversation usually begins something like this: “Father Dwight, would you pray for me this week? I’m having surgery.” I usually respond, “Certainly, I will remember you in prayer. Since you’re preparing for surgery, would you like to receive the anointing of the sick?” “Oh no, Father Dwight – I don’t think I’m that sick.” It’s a very common response to my suggestion about the anointing of the sick.
You may recall that in last month's column, I encouraged all of us to enter into the time of Lent as an opportunity to respond to God's grace and undertake some spiritual spring cleaning. I hope your Lenten journey has gone well thus far and that your house is in better spiritual order, so to speak.
In just a few short weeks, we will mark the start of spring. As the days continue to grow warmer and longer, our thoughts will turn to getting gardens cleaned up and ready for planting, lawns will be raked and readied for their first spring haircut, and grills will be cleaned and prepared for the cookouts that will follow. As a child growing up in my parents' home, there was another ritual that accompanied the approach of the first day of spring: spring cleaning in the house.