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Father Muench Says...

A special time to pray for our priests

May 25, 2016

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I have had the honor of celebrating a few jubilee anniversaries in my time.  Each year we priests celebrate our priesthood with the anniversary of our ordination; we also rededicate ourselves as priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday at the Cathedral with our bishop.

Certain years, like 70, 60, 50, 40 and 25 are, by tradition, jubilee years.

Each year at our spring Diocesan Priests’ Meeting, we hold a special Mass and banquet in honor of those who are celebrating their jubilees. 

This year, although the Spring Priests’ Meeting was a retreat (led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan) we still had our jubilee celebration. This is a time to brag a bit and to recognize the many years that have been piled up.  This year it was especially joyful to celebrated the 70th anniversary for one of our priests – Monsignor Robert McCarthy.  Congratulations, Father Mac. 

As I remember my jubilee years, I know that I celebrated with gratitude.  My prayers were prayers of appreciation for all that God allowed me to accomplish during my years as a priest.

Today, I continue to be grateful to God for the guidance and help to live out my ministry as a priest.  I am grateful for the challenges that the Holy Spirit has placed before me over the years. I am further grateful for the many wonderful, loving people who have supported and helped me and been part of my ministry.

During this year’s retreat, I prayed, in a special way, for all of my brother priests, in a special way, remembering and praying for those celebrating their jubilees. 

May God continue to support us all and keep us healthy and dedicated to our priesthood.  May God continue to fill our diocese with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, filling all priests and parishes with the love of our God.
The jubilee is not about years – how many we have put in.  Actually, the celebration of the jubilee may be about just one day.  I know that I remember with intense gratitude one of those perfect days, when God chose me to bring love and peace to someone, a moment when I truly helped change a life, a time of making someone a better person. 

I was blessed by the Holy Spirit to be in the right place at the right time and helped to say the right thing.  Of course, I hope there were many such days with many people helped.

Yet, that one day will still stay with me as outstanding and special.

It is such a great day when I can celebrate a priest friend’s jubilee.  It is a meaningful opportunity for me.  I find it such a special moment when I can demonstrate my gratitude for this priest’s ministry and offer my support and congratulations.

As I take this time to offer my thanks and congratulations to our priests here in the North Country, I remind myself to add my remembrance of the deceased priests of our diocese, especially those who have died recently.
One of the more impressive ceremonies of our Spring Meeting is an evening time of prayer to remember and pray for our deceased priests, especially those who have died during the past year.  As his name is called out a candle is lit for each priest and deacon in remembrance.  It is a special and important moment.

Let me take this opportunity to invite you to join us in your prayers for the priests of your diocese, remembering, in a special way those special priests who are celebrating their jubilees.

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