Saturday, April 2, 2016

Priesthood: Finding Treasures, Encouraging, and Building

I'm pretty certain that if I were a husband and father, I would be the type of guy who would sit next to you on the airplane and show you endless pictures of his family. I'd be telling you about how my daughter got a scholarship, how my son is really very bright, and how my wife is the most extraordinary woman who ever lived.  How do I know that I'd be like this?  Because that's pretty much how I am as a priest when it comes to talking about the people whom I encounter. I really love talking about the people whom God has placed in my life.  That man in the parable who found a treasure in a field and then sold everything he had in order to purchase the field so that he could have the buried treasure? That's pretty much me. I love that parable because it feels so much like my life.

I didn't create the treasure.  I just happened to stumble upon it.  Now that it is mine, I want other people to share in the joy that comes from possessing it. So much of priesthood for me is lived in boasting about the people whom I encounter and trying to connect them with one another.  If you are one of my priest friends, you know all about the kids at BU or my former parishioners.  You've hung out with them, eaten with them, and prayed with them.  If you are a kid at BU or one of my former parishioners, you know all about various seminarians and priests with whom I am friendly.  There's such a great joy in connecting people together.  There is great joy in letting the people whom you love share in the experience of finding a hidden treasure.

Last night, a group of BU Catholic Center students came with me to the home of some friends of mine. We had a fantastic dinner and then had a book discussion on Evelyn Waugh's, "Brideshead Revisited."  The age range was 18-80.  There were two married couples there. One couple, a young couple with four children. The other couple, an older couple who carry within themselves the mysterious quality of Christian believers; namely, the older they get, the more youthful and joyful they become. These two couples along with six young men and women from the BU Catholic Center had such a great night, discussing conversion and the Catholic life. 

I think all of us left that dinner feeling built up in our faith and also feeling the joy and excitement that comes from living the faith together.  I came home and felt so grateful that all of these people had the opportunity to meet one another and to benefit from each other's witness. I think everyone was encouraged by each other's faith, but also I think the students were encouraged to see these husbands and wives love each other and live family life together. They were encouraged to see the friendship between these two couples and the friendship between these couples and me.  Similarly, these couples were encouraged by the love and friendship shared among the students and their friendship with me. I was encouraged to see a new friendship begin between all of these people.

There was also a small miracle that occurred on our way to the dinner: there was absolutely no traffic at 6pm on a Friday evening in Boston. Since there was no traffic, we arrived early, so we stopped off at the home of a 102 year old friend of mine, named Sophie.  It was a quick visit, but it gave me great joy to introduce the students to this wonderful and faithful woman and for this wonderful woman to be encouraged by the joy and faith of these young men and women.

I love to boast about the great Catholics that I encounter. I love to bring them together and to see them build each other up. It's one of the reasons that I enjoy blogging. I love to share with people the joy that comes from finding hidden treasures.  There are so many great witnesses to the Catholic Faith all around. I am constantly and continuously discovering hidden treasures. When I meet great Catholic families, I want them to meet other families, meet seminarians, meet students at BU. I really love discovering these incredible faith-filled treasures. I love telling them about each other and I love introducing them to each other.  

The priesthood is given by Christ so that the Body of Christ may be continuously more united. One of the most important ways that I think Christ wants to use my priestly life to build up His Body, is through encouraging others. For this reason, he constantly places amazing treasures in my path. When I stumble upon these treasures, he wants me to share them with others, to speak about them, boast about them, and introduce them to each other. In being together, we are encouraged in our discipleship. In witnessing to one another, we are all strengthened. 

God has very generously placed in my path many treasures: priests, religious, married, deacons, lay, single, young, and old.  It is really a tremendous joy to find these treasures and to bring them together. Individually, they are amazing. But together, they are built up into an edifice that honors and glorifies God and which attracts others to God.


  1. Thanks for being a great example of encouragement to others!

  2. Bishop Barron says we need a new apologetics to go along with the new evangelization. I think what you do and what you write suggests what that new apologetics might look like. Being Catholic, it's wonderful.

  3. I am an Episcopalian in Vidalia, GA and just happened upon your page while doing a search. God Bless you and it is so nice to learn from one another.