Friday, July 18, 2008

"You are a priest forever..."

Fr Michael blogs for the first time in his life!! (Don’t get any ideas)

“You are a Priest forever”

July 13th is a very special day for me. Not only is it the feast of St Henry – my Dad’s name – but also the anniversary of my priestly ordination. Last Sunday a long way from home at WYD in Australia I celebrated 23 years as a priest. It was a day of great reflection and thanksgiving to God for his many graces and blessings over the years. Nobody here knew it was my “special” day so God and I celebrated the gift of priesthood together.

The day concluded with Mass at the Youth Arise Festival in Brisbane, before we left VERY early the next morning for Sydney. Being away from family and friends it was the first time I’ve never celebrated with them. So I felt very alone and yet so connected to the life and ministry to which God has called me. Throughout the day young people just kept asking – Father, do you have time for Confession? God knows even when nobody else does.

The Masses I have celebrated this week and hearing many confessions have continued to remind me that this is truly what I am called to be and do. Mass was celebrated on Tuesday by Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney to open WYD. I was sitting next to Fr Alberto Borruel from Brenham, and Fr Paul McGinley a priest with whom I worked on the National Conference of Priests of England & Wales a long time ago. It’s a small world! The Masses during our 3 days of Catechesis were presided over by the Archbishop of Guam on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Brisbane yesterday and the Bishop of Manila, Philippines today. Each Mass was concelebrated by priests from many different countries. All that remains now is the highlight of our trip – the Papal Mass with Pope Benedict on Sunday morning. I will be concelebrating with over 4,000 other priests from every corner of the globe.

All these celebrations of the Eucharist have reminded me of the powerful and wonderful calling that I am a priest ministering in a universal Church. Who would have thought on the 13th July 1985 in Northern England that 23 years later I would be celebrating my anniversary in the midst of the world with a great group of teens and helpers from the amazing parish of St Thomas Aquinas in College Station, Texas where I am so privileged to serve.

I really do have a wonderful life and in the words of Scripture – “it’s all thine O Priest of Jesus Christ.” I give thanks to God for my priesthood and to my parents, brothers, family and friends for their continued love and support. Thank you St Thomas Aquinas parish for allowing me to be your priest. I miss you and I remember you in my prayers and Mass every day. Thank you teens and Tom & Alicia for sharing this pilgrimage with me. Thank you parents for entrusting your teens to us for this amazing experience. They’re the best.

Here’s to another great year in the service of the Lord. I wonder where God has planned for me to celebrate my 24th anniversary?

9 comments:

yellboy95 said...

Fr. Michael and pilgrims. Greetings from Austin and the Chancery. Hope you are enjoying yourselves as we are all praying for you and our Holy Father. May you experience our Faith in all its glory during your trip. Scott Whitaker

Kevin said...

Happy belated anniversary!!! I am sure that y'all are having a great time. Tell Tom that I am sorry I missed him before you all left. I am praying for y'all.

Angie Solcher said...

Wonderful first post on a blog....

Forgive me Father for I woke you up at 5:30am thinking it was 6:30am!

So sorry!
Peace,
Angie

Ralph and Paula Day said...

Father Michael: Congratulations on your most life changing day. I am grateful that you were able to celebrate such an awesome and most holy moment in your life with our teens. What a great example! As I am writing this Iam experiencing the Live Stations of the Cross WYD on TV. It is so moving and brought back the beautiful rendition from STA. God's passion is grace and truth. Thank you for being their for all of us as His witnesses.
I miss you all! The bus will be waiting!!!
Be that light in the darkness.

Paula

Martinez Family said...

Fr. Michael,

Happy Anniversary! Thank you for loving our youth in the parish and for all you do.

Roger

dinnermint09 said...

Father Michael,

We are so blessed to have you at St. Thomas Aquinas. Happy late anniversary! God calls each of us to greatness every day.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with all of us back home!!!

I miss you all!

Love,
Johanna Boardman

Whistler said...

thanks be to God for ya Fr. Michael! & thanks be to God for your pastoral ministry!

I'll never forget my 1st time going to confession with you.

God's redemptive & holy, salvific mission is made manifest in you & through all you do :)

Anita Kapchinski said...

Happy belated anniversary, Father M. What a blessed way to celebrate 23 years as a priest, culminating in the concelebration of the WYD 08 Final Mass with all your brother priests including Pope Benedict! Praise God that you said "yes" when God called you to serve him as a priest. I am thankful for your ministry here with us. We miss you look forward to your return.

Rebecca Jares said...

Fr.Michael,

Happy Anniversary!

We are blessed to have you as our priest! Not one day goes by that we do not remind ourselves of this. We pray that you will be with us for a long time to come!