Dear Parishioners: As he announced at Masses last weekend, Bishop Tobin recently informed Father Connors that he is to be transferred from OLM Church effective July 1, 2016. He has been assigned to pursue studies beginning next fall for a Doctorate in Moral Theology at the Angelicum University in Rome, Italy. Upon completion of his doctorate Father is to be assigned to the faculty of St. John’s Major Seminary in Brighton, MA. It is truly a great honor for Fr. Connors to be recognized for his great intellectual gifts and his tremendous priestly zeal. It is a further testament to the trust and confidence of both His Excellency Bishop Tobin and His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston to entrust the training, education and formation of many of the future priests of New England to Fr. Connors.
While I am greatly pleased for Father and most happy for this important appointment, it is truly a bitter-sweet moment. I am truly sadden at his departure from OLM as Fr. Connors continues to be a trusted and valued associate whose warm friendship, priestly fraternity and wise consul I shall surely miss. I know many of you will as well. Father Connors has graciously accepted my invitation to keep rooms here at the OLM Rectory during his time of study abroad. He is to be a regular visitor to us when home from Rome. We will formally thank Father for his priestly ministry among us in June.
The assignment of a new associate pastor to OLM remains uncertain at this time. There is a growing shortage of priests in our Diocese and the availability of priests is always uncertain. I have written to Bishop Tobin asking that a new Associate Pastor be assigned to OLM. However, there is no guarantee that a priest is available to be assigned to our parish. In the meantime, Fr. Connors is here at OLM and continues his zealous good work! Kindly keep Fr. Connors and his dear parents, Joe and Lisa, in your prayers during these months of transition. We wish Fr. Connors sincere congratulations. Ad multos gloriosque anos!
Lent has begun! The forty days that lead us to the glory of Easter are underway. Lent and Easter are early this year. In fact Easter is very early on March 27. However, no matter when it falls these forty days of prayerful penance and preparation is truly a time for us to take stock of our world and our souls. Is the secular world shaping us or are we with our faith and good works shaping the world around us? It is during Lent we acknowledge the struggle with evil in our world and in our own lives. We strive to overcome it not with fear but with faith and good works. Undoubtedly we all face temptations and sin in our lives and at times even fall to the lure of evil.
Lent is our time to truly strive to renew our relationship with God and our neighbor. We can turn to the Ten Commandments and also the Beatitudes and ask how well we are living them out in our daily lives? Do the people around us at work, at home, at school or at church recognize the difference our Catholic Faith plays in our lives? Are we a people of faith, hope and love? Do we preach the joy of the Gospel in our words and deeds? Yes, Lent is our time to take stock of our commitment to Christ and His Church.
It is also a time to renew our relationship and our friendship with Christ. We must pray more, become more penitential and be more charitable during Lent. We do so not to beat ourselves up but rather to truly convert our minds, hearts and souls to Christ. We must willingly take up the discipline of these Lenten forty days. We can do so by coming to Mass faithfully, going to Confession more frequently, praying daily, making the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, and generously giving to the poor. This deepens our friendship with the Lord and then truly Easter will be all the more glorious and joyful for us!
We wish all students and families a safe, healthy and happy winter break this week. Happy Presidents' Day! Remember Fridays are for fish and Stations! Pray. Fast. Give Alms. Be well. Do Good. God Bless.