In my twenty years of priesthood, I have served as pastor of three different parish communities. Of those three parishes, two of them have had parish schools. There is something different when it comes to the experience of being pastor of a parish community with a parish school. To be sure, there are plenty of blessings and there are a few challenges. One of those challenges is the sacrifice that is required as part of parish life in order to support a parish school.
From the Editor
A number of years ago, I had a young parent stop by my office and ask, “How do you feel about kids in church?” I’m never quite sure how to answer a question posed in that way, but I did know that the parent in question had two young children, and so I presumed that she was asking me how I felt in general about the presence of young children in church during Mass. I assured her that I treasure the presence of young children as part of the worshiping assembly and then asked why she felt the need to ask such a question. The floodgates opened.
How is it possible that it’s already September? It seems to me that just a few days ago it was Easter, and Memorial Day was just around the corner. However, looking at the calendar it is indeed September. School has resumed for a new academic year and we are speeding quickly toward the lovely days of autumn.
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:
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.