During the first week of July, I began my ministry as pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Mary and St. Ann in Charlotte and Bellevue. A few weeks prior to my arrival in Charlotte, I received my keys to the parish complex. I also began the process of moving my belongings into the rectory and getting settled into the parish community that will be my home for the years ahead. I also started the very important process of learning the names of parishioners.
From the Editor
Allow me to take this opportunity to tell you how important you are in the plan of God. People who have left our Church, and people who are thinking of joining our Church, can be touched by your words and your life of faith.
My assignment for writing this piece was to share some thoughts about my best day as a priest. I was a bit daunted by sifting through 49 years of being a priest to find that best day, but two instances surfaced rather quickly – one being the most memorable day, the other the best day. There is a difference between the two.
Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated the great feast of Pentecost, recalling the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. With the manifold gifts of the Spirit, the disciples, once filled with fear and huddled away behind locked doors, become the Apostles. They are sent, with the gifts of the Spirit, to share those gifts. The power of the Spirit literally blows the doors off the room where they were gathered. Emboldened by the Spirit, speaking many human languages, the Apostles move out on mission into a world that hungers for the Good News.
What is marriage? What is a fetus? What does it mean to be a woman? These questions swirl around us in today’s so-called “culture wars.” There is another question to which we should give our attention, namely: What does it mean to be a mother?
God could have come to us as a great warrior king, or a renowned philosopher king, or as a social revolutionary, coming down to us from heaven above in awesome splendor. Instead, he came to us as a baby born of a loving mother. In doing so, Jesus gave being a mother an unsurpassed dignity that we should never overlook.
During my second year in seminary in Chicago, my class welcomed two new seminarians who joined us shortly after the academic year began. Their names were Peter and Joseph, and they were among the first seminarians from China to be welcomed to study at a seminary in the United States. This is not as simple as it sounds, since the reality of the Church in China is challenging. Peter and Joseph came to the United States as part of the Catholic Church that is in union with the Church in Rome, rather than the portion of the Church which is essentially overseen by the Chinese government.