Sept. 25, 2013
By Father William Muench
Listening Sessions for the Bishop were part of this year’s Envisioning program for our diocese. These Listening Sessions were unique opportunities for the people and the priests of our diocese to speak to the bishop concerning their cares and concerns, their suggestions and criticisms.
I am certain that this was a rather unexpected experience for our bishop, Bishop Terry LaValley – in his early years as the Bishop of Ogdensburg.
The ground rules for the program asked the bishop to simply listen, to sit quietly at the front and listen. He was asked not to answer any questions or to reply to any criticisms.
I am certain that he thought of many things that he would like to answer to those who spoke at these Listening Sessions – but he had to save his replies for later.
This business of being a bishop was going to put him in many unique situations.
Today, I join with all the priests and people of the diocese to congratulate Bishop LaValley on his 25th Anniversary of his ordination as a priest. When he became a bishop he was again ordained. Yet, his ministry to the Lord Jesus began with his ordination to the priesthood.
So his anniversary of that day is very important and memorable for him.
Each of us has many days in life that are unforgettable. For a priest, one of those unforgettable days is the day of our ordination as a priest.
That was the day our whole life changed.
I remember well the day of my ordination – it seems like yesterday. I can tell you all the details, the whole service and most of the feelings. If you ever see me at St. Mary’s Cathedral, I can show you exactly where I prostrated during the singing of the Litany of the Saints on that day – so long ago. Each year that anniversary of my ordination is very special to me.
Bishop LaValley’s priesthood changed radically when he was chosen to the Bishop of Ogdensburg.
I want to thank God for blessing him with the gifts and qualities that make him the perfect choice as our Bishop
I remember when I was ordained a priest that many friends, many relatives were wondering what my future would be like – what I would become as a priest. I know only too well that my response to that continues to be the same – “I don’t know.” However, I discovered quickly that the Holy Spirit had many surprises in store for me – and the Holy Spirit will continue to fill my life with surprises. I suspect my brother priests could say the same.
So, the Holy Spirit had many surprises for Bishop LaValley. God gifted him with many gifts – personal gifts – that have made him invaluable to the Diocese of Ogdensburg as a priest. These gifts made him the perfect choice as the bishop of this diocese – chosen from the presbyterate of our diocese.
He has displayed a wonderful spirit of openness that makes him so wonderfully approachable as he travels through the diocese meeting people in all parishes. His visits are enjoyed by all – people find him so comfortable to talk to and be with.
The choice of Bishop LaValley for our present bishop was well received by the priests of the diocese. We know him well as one of own. It has been quite a while since we have had a priest of this diocese chosen as bishop. Bishop Conroy, way back in the 20’s was the only other one.
So, I congratulate Bishop LaValley on his anniversary – his 25th anniversary of ordination as a priest. I want to thank God for blessing him with the gifts and qualities that make him the perfect choice as our bishop.
I join with all those who continue to offer their prayers for him that he be happy as our bishop and blessed in all that he does as our bishop.