One of my favorite months of the year is May. The grass is green, flowers are blooming, and the weather (generally) gets warmer, which, for me, means more opportunities for going fishing! When I have been in parish assignments with schools, May was always a time to celebrate another school year coming to a close, capped off with graduations and other festivities. May is a month when we also recognize our mothers on Mothers Day. That day provides me an opportunity to be grateful for the gift of my mother, my grandmothers, and so many who have been very motherly to me as a priest. Along those lines, the Church invites us to have a special awareness of our Blessed Mother during this month, which is dedicated to her in a special way. For many years now, Mary has been such an important person in my life and I find myself expressing my gratitude to her and for her in a special way this month, especially when I pray the Rosary. May is also a month when I think about the priesthood, since so many of the priests of our diocese (myself included) were ordained in the month of May. In recognition of that, the priests of the diocese gather in early May each year for our Priests Jubilee during which we honor those celebrating significant anniversaries of their ordinations.
As I reflect on all of these aspects that make May a pretty remarkable month, these final two – Mary and the priesthood – come together in special way with the Marian title of Mary, Mother of Priests. By virtue of their ordination, priests share in the life of Christ in a very unique way. Because priests share this sacramental bond with Christ through Holy Orders, their relationship with Mary is likewise unique. Mary certainly loves all of her children, but she has a special affection for those sons of hers who are continuing the life of her Son in priestly ministry. I have felt this love from Mary in so many ways as a priest, and I know so many of my brother priests have also found in her that motherly care which is a source of great encouragement and strength.
As you hopefully are aware, we have been asking the parish to pray three Hail Marys each day. One of those Hail Marys is for the clergy of our parish. I know I speak for all of us that those prayers for us are greatly appreciated. For this month of May, though, could I ask you to please pray an additional Hail Mary for all of the priests of our diocese? As you likely know, it is usually in May that we hear about priest assignment changes. That can be a difficult time for a parish, but also for a priest. So please keep those priests in your prayers in a special way, asking Mary to intercede for them during this time of transition. At the end of this month, we will be ordaining two new priests for service in our diocese – Deacon Zach Samples and Deacon Paul Lesupati. Please commend them to the prayers of Mary as they prepare to enter into this beautiful life of the priesthood.