End of Year Thoughts (From my St. Pius X Bulletin Reflection)
As this year comes to an end, I realize that one of my most important relationships is also coming to an end, and I don’t like it. My great friend Bishop “Bob” Brucato is in the hospital and it is becoming more obvious that his time with us is limited. This man was at both my parents’ funerals, vested me at my ordination to the priesthood, and presided at my sister’s and brother’s weddings. He was the first priest I talked to about this crazy idea about the priesthood that came to me while on retreat. I went to talk to him after a school retreat and I was sure he would say it was a passing inspiration and happened to everyone on retreat. I never really thought anything would come of my thinking that God had called me to the priesthood.
At a family gathering along with the three priests that were close to our family, my mom mentioned a little confusion as to how I ever considered a vocation. We had never really talked about it as a family and my parents were a little speechless when I told them. All three chuckled and were shocked that this was a surprise to my parents. They said in the Air Force we were always the family in the 2nd or 3rd row by the ambo as my dad was a reader. I was an altar server since 6th grade, and my parents were very involved with marriage encounter. Our social life as a family revolved around the church. We would get there early and be the last to leave. My parents didn’t have to say anything about living the faith, it was an essential part of who and what we had become. When they were first married, my mom would frequently go to Church alone and my dad didn’t start receiving communion till my first communion (long story). From about the time he was promoted to Lt. Col. he would go to daily Mass whenever he could, especially during Advent and Lent. When he retired, he would often spend as much time at church as some priests. He led the RCIA and reader programs for more years and at more places than I can count! My mom did many things other than proclaim the Word; that was not her thing – her actions spoke the Word.
Thoughts for New Year
As we end this year, I am struck by the importance of what we do and what we believe, about how much they influence those around us. As we set our goals (resolutions) for the new year, how can we be better? What can we do to increase the impact we have on those around us? How can we draw people deeper into their faith? How can we learn from and respect those that have been essential to who we are? It really shouldn’t be about losing weight or stopping a bad habit; those things should be a byproduct of being the person God made us to be, respecting the gift of our lives and all that we have been given. I was feeling like a hypocrite preaching about being all we were created to be and being 100 pounds overweight. I had to fix that and now have 30 more to go. Now I ask the deeper question: what do we need to do in order to be for this world what God calls us to be and needs us to be? Let’s resolve to work on that.