[an old post, updated]
Today is my twenty-fourth anniversary of baptism. I don't think I had any idea what I was getting into that Saturday midday when I walked up out of the basement of Freeman Hall at Connecticut College, made my way out the Williams St. gate and went down to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Quaker Hill. Perhaps it's part of the mercy of God that I had little idea. In any case, the Holy Spirit knew what he was doing and that's what matters.
As always, this anniversary reminds me to thank God and pray for all the people he has given me along the way, those who have been bearers of the graces God has willed in his generosity towards a lukewarm disciple like myself.
First, for my first priest, Fr. Larry, and for the friars and parishioners of St. Mary's in New Haven, whose reverence and piety first attracted me to prayer.
Second, for Deacon Ron, who baptized me, and for his family, as well as for Andrea and Captain Rick of the U.S. Coast Guard for serving as my sponsors that day; for Fr. Leo Sutula, requeiscat in pace, who gave me my first Holy Communion and who also heard my first confession; for Bishop Dan Reilly, who confirmed me; for Fr. Dan, OFM, who invested me in the Franciscan habit; for Fr. Michael, OFM Cap., who received my profession of both temporary and perpetual vows; for Bishop Francis X. Irwin, who ordained me deacon; and for Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. who ordained me priest.
Third, for my spiritual directors, from whom I have profited so much: Fr. Charles, OFM, Sr. Joyce, FMM, Fr. Confer, OP, Mr. Zepf, Sr. Vivienne, Sr. Pat, CSA, Fr. Salvatore, OCD, Fr. Greg, OMV, Fr. Karl, Msgr. Fay, and Fr. Dan, OCD.
Fourth, for my formation directors: Vincent and Fr. Aubrey, Fr. Andrew and Br. Richard, Fr. Bill and Fr. Raphael, Br. John and Ken, Fr. Marty, Fr. Tom, and Fr. Jack.
Fifth, for my classmates in religious life: Phil, Hank, Brian, Mike, Ken, John, Steve, Robert, Sam, Tom, James, Arlen, Justin, Drew, Jim, Bart, Louis, and Marvin.
Sixth, for the local religious communities in which I have lived: the Benedictine Sisters of Martin, KY, the OFM in the Bronx, at St. Bonaventure University, and in Providence, RI, and the OFM Cap. in Brooklyn; Cartago, Costa Rica; Mt. Calvary, WI; Jamaica Plain, MA; the Lower East Side; Nueva Ocotopeque, Honduras; Beacon, NY; Roxbury, MA; Yonkers, NY; Assisi, Garbatella and now the Capuchin General Curia in Rome.
Seventh, for the teachers who have been so encouraging to me: Fr. Dominic and Br. Bill of the OFM, Khaled, Sr. Meg, Cathy, Fr. John of the Sulpicians, and Frs. John, Randy, Peter, as well as Dan and Stanley, requiescant in pace, of the Society of Jesus, as well as the many language school teachers I have had along the way at the ILISA Instituto de Idiomas, the Accademia Lingua Italiana Assisi, and at the Torre di Babele.
Blessed be the Lord who has surrounded me and continues to surround me with such a cloud of witnesses and has given me so many brothers and sisters in the Lord to help me on my way. May I in turn learn from him how to a lesser brother to others.
St. Charles Lwanga, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!