Father’s Column – July 2022

Posted on July 1, 2022 View all news

We have now entered the hot and slow month of July. Now that the ‘parish year’ has mostly concluded, I wanted to thank everyone who helped in any way over these past few months. From the other priests, the parish staff who assists me in invaluable ways, to our neighbors in the neighborhood who we partner with to make life easier for all of us, to each of you in the pews. So many people pull together to help make this parish a great one. Thank you!

The priests and sisters always look forward to the following two slow months to plan for the upcoming ‘parish year,’ which we inaugurate each Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14.

Change is a reality for any living and growing organism, and our parish is no different. Thank you to everyone who has been so patient with the ever-changing reality of our world. Change is never easy, but it does allow us to grow and flourish (hopefully!). So, as we say goodbyes, we make new introductions, and I am thrilled to welcome back Mr. Sean Connolly to take the music program at Old St. Mary’s into a new chapter. I have every confidence he will be a great addition and fit!

No one has asked recently, but from time to time, we get asked why the priests here go by their first names rather than their last names and is that somehow ‘liberal.’ In the days of St. Philip Neri, secular priests were not called Father, as that was reserved to religious priests, that is those who take vows. St. Philip, when he founded the Oratory, it didn’t have a “religious” character, but it wasn’t strictly speaking “secular” in nature either. Secular priests, for example, are mostly made up of diocesan priests. So St. Philip was affectionately called Father Mister Philip. The Oratory, in law, has all the rights of the secular and religious clergy. In so far as nothing contradicts, of course. So, after the example of St. Philip, and in keeping with the law and custom of the Church, we go by our first names. It is neither liberal nor conservative; it just is what it is.

The danger of the world moving further and further apart to the extremes is that we risk having a distorted view of what is and isn’t traditional. Do your best to avoid this tendency. It isn’t healthy for our spiritual lives. We have nothing to prove or gain by trying to be the most conservative or most traditional. We should rather aim to be exactly as God would have us and seek only to impress Him. We can then shut out the rest of the noise we find the world.

May our Blessed Lady keep each of us this next month, and in the hot and quiet of these summer months, may we strive to reflect more perfectly on Our Lord and seek to conform ourselves more perfectly to Him!