Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ship Ahoy! The bounding main. And pelicans

Yesterday’s highpoint was completely unanticipated.   On Sunday one of the parishioners offered to take me out in his small boat “one of these days” when the weather was nice. Monday was spectacular.  He arrived at 10 AM to make the offer again and we were off at 1 PM.  It was a terrific afternoon.  The trip produced 731 photos, a few of which are below.

Boston Bay is three times larger than Sydney Harbor, a fact the denizens of Port Lincoln do not let go unmentioned.  It is very much a working bay with grain shipments departing on a regular basis.  Fish farming is the major industry here.  The trip through the marina was rather like a combination of the Connecticut coastline and Florida. 

I slept as if dead when I finally got into bed last night.  Celebrated Mass this morning.  Tomorrow afternoon Brian and I head off to Whyalla for a diocesan leadership meeting.  Bishop Greg O’Kelly is a Jesuit; a fact that goes a long way toward explaining why tertians on their long experiment are routinely assigned to the Diocese of Port Pirie.  We will return on Friday with two seminarians in tow.  They will live with us for two weeks.  Four men.  Three bedrooms.  One bathroom.   And one internet connection.  It will be interesting.  My contribution to the general welfare will be to make golumbki after we get back.   May even give a shot at pierogi.  If I can find a rolling pin in the house.  And a black babushka.

First today's homily and then the photos. 

13th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
28 June 2011
Gn 19:15-29
Ps 26
Mt 8:23-27

The Gospel relates one of Jesus’ “nature miracles.”  There are fewer nature miracles than healing miracles but they have a similar effect on those who witness them.  And this is one of the odd things about many of Jesus’ miracles; they produced questions from those who witnessed them rather than faith. 

What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?"  This question from those who were closest to Jesus; who received individualized instruction from Him.   Miracles are sometimes problems for us as well.  They are problems when they happen and when they don’t happen.  Do they engender questions or faith?

Michael Casey, an Australian Trappist monk writes, “Faith has to grapple constantly with the doubts we may experience when we hear the words of the poet ‘God is in his heaven—all’s right with the world.’ . . . .  “Faith means letting go of our ambition to control, understand, or even cope with what happens.  Faith means releasing our anxieties into God’s hands and seeing all that happens as coming from the hand of God.  The fact that I cannot comprehend the logic of events means simply that my intellect is limited.“  

Faith does not mean knowing God’s mind.  Faith does not mean controlling what God will do.  Faith does not mean getting or deserving an explanation.  It is not a shield from trauma.  It does not guarantee that life will go smoothly.  It does not protect against the pain of loss.  It does not prevent illness or death.  Faith is an umbrella over all of these. 

Faith allows us to say with the psalmist:  Search me, O LORD, and try me; test my soul and my heart.  For your mercy is before my eyes, and I walk in your truth.”
The first photo is from this morning.  I went to the post office to send in a request for a visa to Viet Nam.  This is the community pier and an unused picnic table. 

This is Port Lincoln from the water.  The pier would be just to the right in the photo.  This was a tough shot because the boat was bouncing in the water. 
These are kingfish being unloaded from boat into a truck. 

 This is some of the housing stock in Port Lincoln.  Price starts at about $800,000 Australian which is close to a mil in U.S. 

The next two are fishing boats.  The color looks like a jumbo-sized chorus line (think of a men's softball team in the bar and Sinatra's version of New York, New York, last chorus). 
The black and white reminded me of John Q. Mask and geometry class back there in Plymouth High School.   Lots of angles. 

The last few are of pelicans.  These are the goofiest looking birds in the world.  The guy in the first photo was cleaning fish and tossing the innards to the pelicans who were accepting them gratefully.   We were cleaning fish too.  Pelicans become very friendly if you are tossing fish guts in their general direction. 

More after we return from the conference. 
+Fr. Jack

Sunday, June 26, 2011

26 June 2011

Saturday morning was clear.  However, it was cold and the wind was blowing something wicked.  Changing a lens while standing on a sandy beach in the wind is never a good idea.  So I slept in.  This morning it was warmer than yesterday, still and the sky had a few clouds to add interest.  I walked to the beach about 7 AM before the sun came up  (it is winter here folks) and got some shots.   The tripod was obviously necessary as some of them were four second exposures.  Alas, I had a time constraint.  We had First Holy Communion in the parish this morning.  I had to be in the shower by 8:20.  Made it.  

I celebrated the vigil Mass last night.  Homily included.  And, of course, some photos from this morning.  

Feast of The Body and Blood of Christ
26 June 2011
Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Ps 147
1 Cor 10:16-17
Jn 6:51-58

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, or as it was known earlier, Corpus Christi.  In 2007 this feast was on Sunday June 10.  The date is easy to remember because it was the morning of my first Mass the day after ordination in Boston.  I’m a lot calmer now than I was that morning.  I am always happy to celebrate this feast because it means that I have made another cycle through the readings.  

The Church’s calendar is crammed with feasts: The Annunciation, Christmas, Easter, and the Ascension to name a few. These feasts recall specific events in the history of salvation.  They are celebrations that commemorate particular moments in the history of the world.  They supply the rhythm for our lives and the life of our Church.  Each of the feasts has a narrative flow.  There is a story that can be told and retold.  The story of Jesus’ birth.  The Passion narrative.  The account of Pentecost. 

Should we wish we could insert ourselves into the action.  With only a little imagination we would be able to enter the scene in our mind’s eye and see ourselves alongside the manger in Bethlehem.  Or we could stand at the foot of the cross in Jerusalem. 

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is different from the other major feasts.  We have to sit back in silence.  There is no narrative.  There is no story.  There is no script.  There is no action. Today’s readings invite us into quiet contemplation of the greatest gift we have ever received:  The gift of Jesus Christ; the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ truly and substantially present in the Eucharist.  It is almost overwhelming to consider that Christ is present in the bread and wine that will shortly be consecrated on this altar, the bread and wine we receive at communion.  It is awe-inspiring to consider that Christ is always present in the tabernacle.

For some Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist is a stumbling block.  They can understand symbol.  They can understand metaphor.  They can even understand allusion.  But they can’t seem to understand the meaning of real.  It’s a pity.  Each of today’s readings adds something to our understanding of the meaning of this feast.

In the first reading from Deuteronomy Moses is forced to remind the Israelites, yet again, what God had done for them as they wandered in the desert.  Once more he has to remind them how God cared for them, how He brought forth water from the rock and fed them with manna, the bread from heaven, manna, the bread that prefigured the Bread of Life who came down from heaven that we might be saved. 

The most significant words of this particular passage are:  “Not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.”   They lead us towards the Gospel.  In his commentary on this passage from John’s Gospel Jesuit Father Stanly Marrow writes:  “there is only one way of proclaiming the salvation in Jesus Christ, and that is by means of the Word.  The sacraments are another mode of proclamation by means of this same word.” 

Recall that John’s Gospel begins with the astonishing words: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  We need the Living word.  We need the Living Word present in the Eucharist.  We need the living word of scripture, the living word of tradition, the living word of the sacraments, and the living word of prayer.  We need the Living Word as critically as we need bread and other food if we are to live.  We need this Living Word if we are to have eternal life.   Later in his commentary Fr. Marrow points out a crucial fact we can never afford to forget or ignore. “The promise of living forever in no way exempts any of us from dying.”

In the beginning of today’s Gospel Jesus tells the crowds:  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven:  Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  At the end He reiterates.  “This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Jesus is not promising that our lives will be free of pain or suffering.  Jesus is not promising that we, or those we love, won’t die.  In fact, none of us can attain eternal life unless we first die.  Without dying, not one of us could hope to rise again at the last day.  Eternal life, the promise of resurrection on the last day, is only possible through the Living Word, through Jesus the Son of God. 

We heard at the end of the first reading from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

“We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”  We are one when we gather here to listen to the Word of God and to receive that Living Word in Holy Communion.  We are one when we go forth from here after the final blessing to go about our daily lives.  We remain one after death. 

Today we recall the great gift of The Body and Blood of Christ.  Real. Substantial. 
And transsubstantial.  With that in mind we can only sit back in awe and say with the psalmist and sing: Praise the Lord Jerusalem.  Alleluia.  Amen. 
The first two photos are the parish complex.  The building to the right is the original parish church that is now a meeting hall.  The new church is the modern structure to the left. 

 The bay at sunrise.

The promenade across from the shopping area.
The shops on one of two shopping streets.
An early morning fishing trip. 
A ship pulling into the harbor. 
And finally one of those "I could not resist" that works much better in high contrast black and white than the color original. 
+Fr. Jack

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The sun is shining!

Today looks as if it will be glorious.  Finally stopped raining.  The forecast for the weekend is fine: Sunny.  Temps in the 50's.  Less wind.  Hope to get out early Saturday AM to shoot some photos.  Sunday is first communion in the parish.  

Attached are two photos and a homily for yesterday's Memorial of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More.  

Memorial of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More
22 June 2011

What does it cost to take a stand for one’s faith? 
What does it cost to go against the court of public opinion? 
What does it cost to believe? 

It costs a lot. 

Today we celebrate the memorial of two great English martyrs who died because they held to the principles of their faith:  Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More were both martyred in 1535.  Their deaths were ordered by King Henry VIII because they opposed his plan to name himself head of the church so that he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn.  Of course, we know that Henry went on to marry as many times as Elizabeth Taylor thereby making a mockery of the sacrament.  But, that is a different homily.

Both men had the courage of their convictions.  They stood alone in defying the king.  Fisher was the only bishop to speak out against the king’s plan.  But he did not criticize those bishops who lacked the courage to speak out.  Thomas More, who had held the highest legal post in England, would not budge from his principles.  He bore no ill will toward the judges who condemned him to death.  Neither man wavered in his beliefs.  Both died for them.   

The courage of these two great saints should be a model for us when we have to speak out against the abuses of our age.   We don’t face martyrdom in quite the same way.  We face something we may dread more.  Criticism.  We face being considered hopelessly “behind the times.”  We face ostracism or exclusion because of our beliefs.

Confucius described “the rectification of names.”  One explanation of this key concept of Chinese philosophy notes that the corruption of society begins with the failure to call things by their proper names… and its reconstruction begins with reattaching words to real things and precise concepts.  Thus we must ask, is it women’s health care or abortion?  Is it death with dignity or killing a sick old man?  Is it just a little affair or adultery?  We cannot afford euphemisms that deny the reality of sin.  We cannot bear the cost of words that normalize wrong action. 

John Fisher and Thomas More died because they called the king’s actions what they were.  We should expect no less of ourselves.  We should expect no less of our Church.  
The first photo is St. Ignatius Church in Adelaide early in the morning.  Despite the appearance of the sky it did not rain.  The other is a shop window down the street from the parish here in Port Lincoln.  I liked the way the sun hit the blue glass balls. 

Busy day coming.  I'll concelebrate a funeral Mass later today, meet with a few people,  and prepare some homilies for tomorrow and the Saturday vigil Mass. 
+Fr. Jack

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Port Lincoln: A homily, reflections and photos

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
19 June 2011
Ex 34:4-6,8-9
Dl 3:52-55
2 Cor 13:11-13
Jn 3:16-18

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  This celebration forces us to consider the essential dogma of our faith.  We recall this dogma every time we begin and end Mass.  We invoke the Trinity every time we pray.  We call upon the Trinity whenever we say the words  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  What we call the Trinitarian formula is critical to every one of the Church’s sacraments; from baptism to the anointing of the sick and dying.   The Sign of the Cross begins and ends everything the Church does.  As it should.

We read in The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Christians are baptized In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life.  It is the mystery of God in himself.  It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.  It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith.” (#232-234)

Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we recall a mystery that remains inexplicable. The Trinity remains inexplicable despite the vast number of books written about it.  While each book may contain a bit of insight into the nature of the Trinity, none captures the essence of the Trinity.  No book, or the sum of all books, will ever capture that essence.  The dogma of the Trinity depends on faith.

What is faith?  One definition of faith is: “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”  Another definition of faith from the Letter to the Hebrews is very short: “Faith is the conviction of things unseen.”   Both definitions tell us something important in light of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  There never will be a logical proof of the dogma of the Trinity. Thus, we must become comfortable with the definition of faith at its deepest and most mysterious because, despite the absence of logical proof, despite the impossibility of philosophy or science to begin to explain the Trinity, one cannot call oneself Christian if he or she denies the Trinity. 

How difficult is it to understand the Trinity?  Back when I was in grade school over 50 years ago I first heard a story that illustrates the impossibility of understanding the dogma of the Trinity.

St. Augustine was walking along a beach trying to understand One God in Three Divine Persons. He wanted to explain the Trinity through logic.   He noticed a child who had dug a hole in the sand.  The child was walking back and forth between the water and the hole with a small cup.  He would fill the cup at the water’s edge and then empty it into the hole in the sand.  Augustine observed this for a while and then ventured closer to ask what he was doing.  The child responded that he was emptying the sea into the hole.  Augustine asked, “How do you expect to be able to empty something as vast as the sea into this small hole?”  The child responded, “I can empty the sea into this hole more easily than you can understand the Trinity.” 

The child’s point is still valid.  We can understand some things through faith that our inadequate intelligence will never be able to comprehend.  Even if we were to comprehend the Trinity the limits of human vocabulary and the emptiness of all languages would not allow us to explain it in a way that others would understand.

It is important to note that the word Trinity does not appear anywhere in the Bible.  Rather, the understanding of the Trinity grew in the early years of the Church as theologians and others began to consider what Jesus had said and done during His time on earth. Remember, we heard in the second reading that Paul already spoke of the Trinity.

What is the doctrine of the Trinity?  It is the doctrine that in the unity of God there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three Persons is God. There is only One God, yet the Persons are distinct.  Thus, Jesus always speaks of His Father as distinct from Himself, but also notes that “I and the Father are One.” The same is true of the Holy Spirit.  We are accustomed to persons being distinct and not the same.   We have a hard time wrapping our minds around three in one, the same yet distinct.  Thus, Augustine’s walk along that distant shore. 

Over the past weeks many of the gospel readings have been taken from the farewell discourse toward the end of John’s Gospel. In this discourse Jesus refers to both the Father and the Holy Spirit in reference to Himself several times. Ultimately though, the Trinity is, and will remain, a mystery.

At the end of the second reading we heard Paul’s prayer for the Corinthians:  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 

Grace. Love. Fellowship.

What more could we desire?

Port Lincoln.

I arrived in Port Lincoln, South Australia at about 8:30 Friday night.  Michael and I left the community in Pymble at 11:30 AM for the Sydney Airport.  We took off on time from Sydney and arrived in Adelaide a bit after 4:30 PM.  Note, South Australia, which contains Adelaide, is one-half hour behind Sydney time.  As Michael was to remain in Adelaide he was met at the gate.  The odd thing about that was that he was met AT the gate.  Airport security is a tad more relaxed here  than it is back home.  One also wears shoes and belt through airport security.  Nice.

I had a 3 ½ hour layover.  The Adelaide Airport is nice.  It is quiet, clean, lacking those wretched carts that beep with an eardrum destroying sound, does not play crappy music in the background and it is easy to escape the televisions on which the volume is set to NORMAL.   Plenty of shopping (window) opportunities and reasonable food options.  The time passed quickly enough before the 45 minute flight to Port Lincoln.   It was, nonetheless, a long day.

PL is a lovely town that sits on Boston Bay (really).  Saint Mary of the Angels is three blocks from the water.  It is a  large complex with church, assembly hall (the small original church) a 1 through 12 school that has 40 borders in the boarding house, a convent and the rectory.  

The pastor is Fr. Brian.  Brian is a candle maker by hobby.  He does very nice work.  I took a few photos of some of his stuff.  Later he has asked if we can collaborate on step-by-step photos of the candle making process.  Thus the test shots I took in the outdoor shed-workshop. 

The people are very and welcoming.  They have coffee, tea and toast after the 9 AM Mass.  Vegemite is optional for the toast.  I did not, and will not, exercise that particular option.  In three weeks Brian he is leaving on vacation and I will be the substitute parish priest for two weeks.  That should be interesting.  Night call.  Again.  

The parish is about three blocks up the street.  The ocean and pier were directly behind me. 

Here is the early arrival for the 9 AM Mass this morning. 
The last four are various photos in the candle making shed. 

+Fr. Jack

Monday, June 13, 2011

A homily and some random photos

12 June 2011

Acts 2:1-11
Ps 104
1 Cor 12:3-7,12-13
Jn 20:19-23

One of truisms of scripture study is that one cannot understand the New Testament without knowing the Old Testament.  Today’s first reading proves that statement.  “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.”  Pentecost is not unique to Christianity. 

The Greek root of Pentecost means fifty days. Pentecost is both historically and symbolically related to the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which is also called Shavuot, a Jewish harvest festival that commemorates God giving the Decalogue to Moses fifty days after the Exodus.  In the Christian liturgical year Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after Easter, with Easter Sunday being counted as day number one of the fifty.  Just as Moses received the wisdom and teaching of the Decalogue fifty days after the Exodus, the disciples received the wisdom of the Holy Spirit fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection; fifty days after Jesus led us in the exodus from death. 

We heard the promise to send the Holy Spirit in the Gospel proclaimed on June 1. 
“But when he comes
the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth . . .”
In today’s reading from John’s Gospel we hear something very different from what we just heard in Acts of the Apostles. 

The first reading is dramatic.  Wind.  Flame.  Polyglot speaking.  We hear of the people’s consternation that these unsophisticated and uneducated Galileans were able to speak in whatever language was necessary for the many visitors to be able to hear the Good News.  Symbolically this represents what scholars refer to as “the reversal of Babel”, the story in the Old Testament that explains the multiplicity of languages on the earth.  With the descent of the Holy Spirit that which had been split apart by the people’s pride was rejoined by Jesus’ obedience to the Father.

It is a pity we did not hear all of Psalm 104 during the responsorial.  It is the perfect psalm for this feast. It is also the perfect psalm in this age of growing ecological awareness.  Psalm 104 describes creation. It describes God’s ongoing act of creation as well as our response to that act.  God’s action and our response is reciprocal: From the Creator to the created and from the creature to the Creator.

Today we celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thus we hear, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”  And then,  “As a body is one though it has many parts . . .“  Each of us is given unique but not identical gifts.  Our task is to discover those unique gifts and develop them. 

“As a body is one though it has many parts . . .” is important to keep in mind.  It is something to which Paul will return later.  Certain sectors of modern society no longer tolerate or accept differences or distinctions.  Rather, we have come to insist on a false equality that is actually an extreme version of particularity, an extreme sense of specialness, in which each individual or faction demands that his or her specialness is most special, in which my equality is more equal than your equality. 

Medical students hear multiple amusing anecdotes when they study anatomy and physiology.  The general outline is of an argument in which each organ or organ system in the body is debating which is the most important, which one has supremacy and ultimate control over the others, which is MOST critical to the life and comfort of the individual.   But you know what?  Except for the appendix, that is useless though it is still dangerous, there is no most important system, or organ, in the body.  All of the systems are equally necessary, each in its own way, to the optimal function and ultimate survival of each of us. 

The lungs cannot do the work of the liver.  The liver cannot do the work of the heart.  And the pancreas cannot fulfill the role of the skin.  If one organ or system fails the entire body dies.  It is that simple.  None of us is the equivalent of a stem cell that can do or become anything depending upon the circumstances. We are all limited.  We are all fallible.  We are all sinners.  No exceptions. 

Today’s Gospel has the potential to confuse if it is read in isolation.  In Acts we heard of the descent of the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ Ascension.  In chapter 16 of John’s Gospel we heard, “If I do not go away the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you.”  However, Jesus is quite present to the apostles in today’s Gospel.  How do we reconcile the two?  Jesuit Fr. Stanley Marrow explains things succinctly with a warning to those who would interpret the gospels in too literal a fashion. “We must beware of isolating discrete moments in what is one integral event in the revelation.  He who dies on the cross, is he who rises from the dead, returns to the Father who sent him, and sends his Holy Spirit on all who confess him as Lord and Son of God.” 

Just before the Gospel we heard the sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Come Holy Spirit.  It ended with . . . .

“On the faithful who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them Thy salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.”

The gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit have been bestowed upon us.  Our task is to cooperate with those gifts and graces in the manner to which each of us has been called.  And to share the revelation of Jesus in whatever language necessary with those we meet. 

The weekend was rainy.  The trains into the city were closed for construction work.  It was a good time to arrange photos.   A few were worth sharing. 

Woke up early in the morning.  Looked out the window.  Balloons.  All over the place.  They are lovely to look at but there is no way I would ever ride in one.  
Did you ever wonder where useless Philadelphia sports apparel goes?  I was shocked to see these jerseys hanging in one of the stalls in the Victoria Market.  Only as I was editing the photos did I notice the name on the Iggles jersey.  Donovan McNabb  He is, uh, no longer part of the team.  Never thought to check the price.

It is obvious I was not the only one wandering around Melbourne with a camera attached to his face. 
This last is from Taipei.  Ignatius and I were wandering around Longshan Temple on New Year's Eve.  Only after I had taken about 10 photos did the owner come out to shoo me away. The store is the Taiwanese equivalent of the St. Jude Shop in Philadelphia.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Anniversary

Today is an anniversary of the joyous variety.  On 9 June 2011 Andy Downing, SJ, Matt Monnig, SJ and I were ordained priests by Sean Cardinal O’Malley, OFM Cap at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, just at the terminus of the B Train on the Green Line and the edge of the Boston College Campus.  The day was cool, cloudy and rain free.  By evening the weather had turned as perfect as Boston can be in June and stayed that way for our first Masses the following day. 

I still can’t put my feelings about that day and the past four years of priesthood into articulate sentences.  Perhaps next year.  Most overwhelming was the presence of family, friends, former and current residents, colleagues, and teachers, some of whom had travelled great distances at considerable expense to be there.  The greatest grace was that mom, who was approaching 90, was there in more than fine form, enjoying every moment. 

Cardinal O’Malley gave a splendid homily.  As soon as he finished his story about his “first homily” in prison I could here my brother revising it for his own purposes.  Once Cardinal O’Malley finished his homily the long rite of ordination began.  I was lucky.  Everything was alphabetical thus I didn’t have to remember anything from rehearsal the night before.  I just did everything that Andy and Matt did before me.  Nothing has been the same since.

I celebrated my first Mass the following day at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Campion Center in Weston, MA, about twenty miles west of Boston.  I’d chosen that setting immediately upon being informed that I was approved for ordination a year earlier.  It is a beautiful chapel, has ample parking, was the place at which we had pronounced our perpetual vows eight years earlier, and is where our the province assisted living and nursing facilities are located.  I wanted, and had, all the men in assisted living and nursing home care who were able vested so as to concelebrate.  It was moving to be able to share that moment with the men who had gone before me, some of whom had been ordained before I was born 58 years earlier. 

The rest of the week was exhilarating and exhausting.   The week ended with a Mass of Thanksgiving at my home parish, All Saint’s, in Plymouth and then a return to D.C.  I didn't notice the exhaustion until I got back to D.C. when beginning at 8 PM I slept for 11 straight hours, something I never do if my temperature is under 104 .

Rather than trying to put my feelings about June 9, 2011 into words I will put up a few photos of the day with commentary. 

The entry procession.  I should add that the music at St. Ignatius was magnificent and then some. 
Cardinal O'Malley giving his homily. 
Prostration during the Litany of the Saints.  This is one of the most moving parts of the ordination.  It was a struggle to keep emotions under control. 
Cardinal O'Malley laid his hands on us first, invoking the Holy Spirit, followed by approximately 100 other priests.  This is done silently.  I've attended a few ordinations in the past four years.  This is a deeply moving moment for both those who are ordained and those being ordained. 
Being vested.  George Murray, S.J., M.D. was my vesting priest.  Fifteen years earlier he trained me as a consultation psychiatrist.  Really, there was no other choice.  George supplied some of the humor.  The chasuble was crooked and the collar was askew.  A nun sitting two rows behind me adjusted the collar (I suspect it was driving her crazy) at which point my friend Ignatius (the tall Chinese guy kneeling in the background in the  litany photo) indicated, using sign language, that I really had to adjust the chasuble as the crosses were heading diagonally rather than vertically. 
Mom bringing the gifts up at the offertory.  My niece Kate is pushing her chair. 
Communion during concelebration.  Most of George is visible.  Jack Butler, S.J., who keeps me sane during those moments when sanity does not seem to be an option, is standing next to him in the very colorful stole. 
Cardinal O'Malley with mom and me.
Finally, the family to whom I am deeply indebted.  One mother, two sisters, a twin brother, a brother-in-law, a sister-in-law and one niece. 
We have a busy week coming up.  On Tuesday I am going to the Opera House to hear Lang Lang play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #1.  On Friday we scatter for a five week experiment.  I will be going to Port Lincoln, South Australia,  to work in a parish (or parishes).  Port Lincoln appears to be very photogenic.  I'll be ready.

+Fr. Jack