(An ongoing post, updated)
Today is my anniversary of baptism; I am twenty-five years old. It's my Silver Jubilee! When I think of the adventure that began that day at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in little Quaker Hill, Connecticut, I cannot but confess that one of the most abiding graces has been the 'cloud of witnesses' that has guided and supported me along the way. So today in my gratefulness I pray in special way for everyone the Lord has given me to accompany me in this journey.
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.
For Deacon Ron, who baptized me, for his wife Donna, and for Andrea and Capt. Rick, USCG (retired) for graciously accompanying me as my sponsors (and who, not coincidentally, celebrate twenty-five years of marriage this year), for Fr. Leo Sutula, requeiscat in pace, who gave me my first Holy Communion and who also heard my first confession; and for Bishop Daniel Patrick 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 Seán Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap. who ordained me priest.
For my spiritual directors, from whom I have profited so much: Fr. Charles, OFM, Sr. Joyce, FMM, Fr. Bernard, OP, Mr. Zepf, Sr. Vivienne, Sr. Pat, CSA, Fr. Salvatore, OCD, Fr. Greg, OMV, Fr. Karl, Msgr. Fay, and Fr. Daniel, OCD.
For my formation directors in Franciscan life: 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.
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.
For the teachers from whom I have learned much and received invaluable encouragement: Fr. Dominic and Br. Bill of the OFM, Fr. Khaled, Sr. Meg, OSF, Cathy, Fr. John, PSS, Boyd, and Frs. John, Randy, Peter, and Dan and Stanley, requiescant in pace, all of the SJ.
For all of those it has been my privilege to serve in sacred ministry, especially all those I have baptized, the one soul I have confirmed, all those for whom I have celebrated the Eucharist and to whom I have ministered Holy Communion, those with whom I have shared prayer and divine mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation and hope in the Anointing of the Sick, those whose marriages I have been privileged to witness, most of whom are still married as far as I know, and everyone with whom I have been able to share simple moments of naming and appreciating the presence and action of God. All of you have been graces for me.
And finally, for anyone and everyone else who has ever prayed for me and encouraged me, including and especially the visitors to this little blog. May God bless you for your encouragement to a poor soul and I ask your continued prayer that continuing to go forward in this journey I might become a little less unworthy of your kindness.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 13-14)