Hello and welcome!
Last week we held our annual Vianney Cookout for priests at St. John’s Seminary.
Each year we have this summer gathering for the priests, which consists of a lecture and praying Vespers together followed by a cookout.
There was quite a cross-section of priests as well as some religious who work in the diocese, including some of the SMA Fathers who are here helping out during the summer.
This year, I asked Father Bryan Hehir to give an exposition of the Holy Father’s new encyclical, Laudato Si’. Father Hehir provided a great explanation of the encyclical and connected the Holy Father’s writings particularly to those of Pope John Paul II. He also showed how the new elements in this encyclical flow from the past social encyclicals of the Church.
Obviously, there is a great deal of interest in the new encyclical, and there was a very lively question-and-answer session.
Afterwards, we prayed Vespers together in the same hall where we had the lecture, because the seminary chapel was closed while they repair the organ.
Our gathering concluded with a very nice summer barbeque.
– – –
On Sunday, I went to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hull, for the celebration of the patronal feast of the parish, the 125th anniversary of their parish, as well as the 100th anniversary of their church.
It was a very beautiful and happy celebration and we were certainly blessed by the weather. I think everyone will agree, to have sunny 70 degree weather in mid-August is truly a gift!
– – –
On Monday I met with Father Bob Monagle who has served as a military chaplain for many years and just came back from a deployment in the Middle East. His next assignment will be to Aviano Air Force Base in northern Italy.
I reminded him that Aviano is the birthplace of the Capuchin Blessed Marco of Aviano who is the patron of military chaplains.
– – –
Also on Monday I went to the Connors Retreat Center in Dover to participate in the gathering of the Catholic Conversation Project, an annual summer meeting of young theologians who come together to dialogue on a particular theme with experts and invited guests.
This year, the gathering included theologians from colleges such as Catholic University, Georgetown, Boston College, Mount St. Mary’s and Loyola. This is the second or third time I have met with them when they come here for the summer meetings.
The conference focused on preparation for the upcoming Synod on the Family and I joined them for a panel discussion.
There was great interest in the themes of the Synod. One of the panelists focused on indicating universality of the Church that will be reflected in the Synod, since over half the participants will come from the Southern Hemisphere, bringing the kinds of issues and pastoral concerns of a group of Catholics who have had a much different experience than those from the northern industrialized nations.
In my remarks, I spoke about the importance of the name given to the Synod: "The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World". In analyzing the different aspects of that title, I pointed out that there has been a loss of the sense of vocation in the Church.
When people marry in the Lord, and have a sense of vocation, the family will be able to carry on its mission. And one of its most important missions is passing on the faith to new generations of disciples in the Church and working in the contemporary world to create a world that is more just, promotes the gospel of life, and promotes care of the poor, the elderly and those on the margins.
I also reflected on some of the aspects of the Instrumentum Laboris.
It was a very lively group, and I was very happy to be able to join them.
Until next week,