Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

June 22/23 Bulletin Article

The time away this past week for us priests was a tremendous blessing in many ways. As I mentioned last week, all the diocesan priests from across our diocese gather together with the Bishop once every two years for retreat, study, and prayer. I usually forget how important and needed our gatherings (convocations) are during the time between them. Then, like this year, I'm reluctant to go because it means I have to stop what I'm doing here in our parishes. Thankfully, the meetings are mandatory, because after being there I realize how beneficial they are to me and my fellow priests. Fr. Kevin, Fr. Kishore and I very much appreciated every aspect of the convocation. It helps us be better priests, which is what we strive for each day. You will hear and see the fruits of the presentations for years to come! Thank you for your prayers for us and know that we prayed for you.
Continuing on the theme of priesthood, this weekend (Saturday) two more young men join in following in the footsteps of Jesus as a priest. One year ago Jacob Livecchi and Chris Turner were ordained as transitional deacons, which is the first level (degree) of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and yesterday they received from Bishop Thomas the second degree, which is priesthood. In case you are wondering, the third and final degree of ordination is bishop. This means that there are no further levels of Holy Orders for the Pope or a Cardinal within the Church. 
The call from Jesus for a man to be a priest is both a responsibility and a privilege. St. John Paul II said that the priesthood is a "gift and mystery". I understand more of what he meant with each day of my own priesthood. There are challenges and difficulties with being a priest, but also blessings and joys that words cannot describe. In my now 17th year of being a priest, I've never once doubted or regretted one day or even one moment of it. Similarly, Fr. Kevin and Fr. Kishore have not once regretted being a priest. Each of us comes from different parts of the world, have had different experiences, and have different interests, yet each of us experiences deep and profound fulfillment in being a priest. That is because being a priest also involves a deep, meaningful relationship with God that is meant to be greater than anything of this world. That in itself makes the priesthood worth any trial or tribulation. 
Another joy of being a priest is the many people with whom we come in contact, whether at the parish, hospital, prison, care facilities, and in their homes. People are social and need to be in relationships with other people. Inmates in prison, who can be guilty of the most heartless and brutal crimes, demonstrate the human need for relationships with others. We priests cherish our relationships with the people we serve, and the opportunities we have to assist them on the "pilgrimage of life" that has an eternal destination. The priest never forgets this. He seeks the eternal wellbeing and supreme joy for every person that is only found in heaven, which is nothing less than full union with God. 
The priesthood is in some way the ultimate adventure. It is definitely not boring. It puts us in contact with people in almost every life situation. We learn there is joy in giving even in the most difficult situations. Accompanying people in the various situations of the "pilgrimage of life" is the work of God. Helping them to know and experience God in their daily life, so that God is as real and personal to them as their closest friend or family member, is the ultimate joy. 
Fr. Kishore, Fr. Kevin, and I celebrate each other's priesthood and now we will celebrate the priesthood of Fr. Livecchi and Fr. Turner. Please encourage our young people to pray so that they can experience the amazing goodness of God. Then encourage them to open themselves to God's will for them. Amazing things will surely come if they do.
Fr. Miller


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