Today, I had a great priestly day! It was great, in part, because I was able to offer the Funeral Mass for a dear friend and former parishioner. But it was great for other reasons as well. It was great because I saw how we in the Church help one another.
How was I able to go and offer that Funeral Mass? It was because I have an intern at the BU Catholic Center. This young man, Joe Ferme, decided in his senior year of college, to give up finding gainful employment, and instead, decided to give a year of service to the BU Catholic Center. To do this work, he has to raise enough money to pay his rent and living expenses for the year. Because he was willing to make this sacrifice in his own life, I was able to leave the Catholic Center today in order to provide pastoral care to others. While I was gone, Joe kept the Catholic Center open. In September, Joe will enter the seminary. Joe's sacrifice this year helps me to be a better priest. I'm grateful.
Attending the funeral today was a young man whom I received into the Church a few years ago. He gave up his job and is now a FOCUS Missionary. I had the great joy of offering the Nuptial Mass for he and his wife last summer. When I saw him and his wife come up for communion today at Mass, I thought of how blessed I am to know people like this. I'm grateful.
Tonight, after I finished the evening Mass at BU and had our Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction, I came home to the rectory and shared a nice dinner with the Pastor of the parish where I live. After a great priestly day, it was a blessing just to share with him all of the great things that I experienced today and to discuss priestly ministry and life. It is always great to share with him and to learn from him. I'm grateful.
Today, I met so many great men and women. Some work for the Church. Some are busy raising their families in the Faith. All of them . . . really . . . I just love them. They fill my heart with profound gratitude.
Today, I encountered great priests, great families, great friends. I hope that the people I encountered today know how grateful I am to them. Their generosity of life makes it possible for me to contribute my little portion to the life of the Church. I give my share, but I'm able to do that because some other people--some much younger than me--have given a whole lot more and put so much more at risk. I am very humbled and grateful for their sacrifice.
I love being a priest. In part, I love it because I am constantly surrounded by people who truly give everything. I need their example and I am grateful for their example. Tonight, I am profoundly grateful to be a priest.