Homily — Corpus Christi May 25, 2008

Homily — Corpus Christi MMVIII                May 25, 2008

For my homily today, I want to tell you about the weekend I am having.

Friday evening and Saturday morning, I attended the funeral services of Father Richard Donnelly, Pastor Emeritus of St. Mark’s Church in Cranston, whom I spent the first four years of my priesthood with as an assistant.  I was privileged to have been asked by Father before he died to give the homily at his funeral, which I did Saturday morning.

Their were five bishops, over a hundred priests, and over a thousand lay faithful who attended the evening and morning Masses.  He was a prayerful, kind, hard working, witty priest, who was loved by the students that had him for many years as a teacher, the parishioners who had him as a Pastor, and priests who worked with him.

He had a great care for sick and dying parishioners, and was always visiting the sick.  He was hands down THE most Pro-Life priest in the Diocese, known for his clear and inspiring homilies and teachings on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and his faithfulness in leading the Rosary every Saturday in front of the Cranston abortion mill.

Lastly, he was a real character; When priests that were assigned with him get together, we all have a great time impersonating him.

It is said that the First Pastor a newly ordained priest is assigned to is very influential in forming that young priest for the rest of his priesthood — if so, I feel very sorry for Fr. Marcin!

But whether or not that’s always the case, I have been very blessed to have had Fr. Richard Donnelly as my mentor the first four years of my priesthood; may he rest in peace.

I began my weekend with the burial of one Priest friend, and I will end my weekend with the birth of another old friend into the priesthood.

As I mention in the bulletin, Sunday afternoon I’m going to St. Anthony’s across the city, to attend the First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving of Father Andrew Beauregard, also known by his baptismal name Dennis, who was just ordained last Saturday up in Boston.

Father Andrew and I were in the seminary together over 14 years ago.  He has kind of taken the scenic route to the priesthood, which is why he’s only getting ordained now while I’ve been a priest almost 9 years.

The Boston-based religious order Father Andrew belongs to is called the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance;  they are a very interesting bunch of priests and brothers.

They try to follow as close as possible the original Rule of their founder St. Francis of Assisi, who took literally Jesus’ words in Luke 9 verse 3:  “(Jesus sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God, saying to them) Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.”
And Father Andrew and his fellow Franciscans of the Primitive Observance literally live this way.  Here’s a quote from one of of the Friars describing their way of life, which I put in my pastor’s column in this week’s bulletin:

“(We Friars) strive for immediate and total dependence on Divine Providence both communally and individually…(we have in our houses) No TVs, stereos, computers, musical instruments, washing machines, refrigerators, (or) telephones …Travel is by walking, hitchhiking, public transportation or begging for rides.  No air travel or ownership of cars.  As far as possible, money is not accepted or used.  No bank account is held individually or communally.  Brothers are sent out to beg or work for food and supplies.”

Five of the Friar’s will be staying at the Rectory with me Sunday night, some of them sleeping on the floor or couches.  I’m going to give them a good breakfast before they leave!

And right in the center of this weekend I’m having, in-between the burial of one senior priest and the birth of a new priest, is the celebration of Corpus Christi Sunday, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Bishop Tobin commented at the funeral that my former Pastor and mentor Fr. Donnelly derived his energy to do all that he did through what he would call “the greatest gift God has given the Church: Jesus Himself truly present in the Eucharist.”

The last two years of his life, Father lived at St. Antoine’s battling with stage four liver cancer.  Every day he would put his clerics on and go to Mass, which would wipe him out for the rest of the day.  But that was what he was living for, to be united with Jesus in Holy Communion.

And certainly, it’s only through the supernatural graces which pour forth from the Eucharist that my friend Father Andrew and all those who take vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience can live the life of total trust in Divine Providence.

The Most Holy Eucharist is at the center of my eventful weekend; it is truly at the center of the life of not only every priest and religious, but of every follower of Jesus Christ.

For as Jesus says in the Gospel, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

May Jesus remain in us and increase our love and devotion to this Greatest of Gifts He has given us.

Comments are closed.