This year we are meeting in the Rochester area at the Woodcliff Hotel in Fairport. Bishop Matano in inviting us to participate in the Convocation with him this year, wrote these words about this year’s principal presenters.
“We are most fortunate to have two esteemed speakers this year. His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins,Archbishop of Toronto, will be with us on Monday to help us reflect on Priestly Ministry: Living and Learning the Scriptures. While studying in Rome, specializing in Sacred Scripture and the Book of Revelation, His Eminence received a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Bible Institute in 1978, and a Doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1986. Our second speaker is Dr. Franceso Cesareo, Ph.D., President of Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts. Dr. Cesareo will hel;p us reflect on Priestly Ministry: Building a Culture of Safety and Priestly Ministry: Helping Families Cultivate the Gift of Faith. Dr. Cesareo earned his Master and Doctoral degrees in late medieval / early modern European history from Fordham University. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied at the University of Rome and the Pontifical Gregorian University. Dr. Cesareo presently is the Chairman of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”
I personally enjoy the Convocation each year, it offers the opportunity to learn and even more importantly for me, to be with priests and pastoral leaders that I do not have the occasion to see very often. It is a time to catch up and pray and socialize with each other. On Tuesday, we will con-celebrate the Eucharist with Bishop Matano at 5:00p.m. at St. John of Rochester Church in Fairport.. At that Mass we usually remember the priests who have died since the previous year’s gathering. Spending these days with the priests of the diocese always reminds me of the priests that I have lived with and worked with through the years. I especially remember in prayer those who have passed on to their eternal reward, Msgr. Leslie Whalen, Father Gene Sweeney, Father Ray Wahl, Father Jack Hedges, Father Robert Downs, Father Tom Watts and Father George Wiant. Each one of them had very different personalities but I have been blessed in my priesthood by the support and guidance they gave me.
Please keep us in your prayers as we gather for the Convocation this week, and know that you are always in mine.
I was shocked to hear on Easter Monday that Father Mark McDonald, MSC, who had just lead us in a parish retreat, died in his sleep on Easter night. His cousin, Shannon Williams, called us with the sad news. A funeral mass was celebrated for Father McDonald on April 9, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, in Watertown, NY, and his burial took place at Calvary Cemetery in Watertown. I pray that Father Mark is experiencing the fullness of the Resurrection with Christ and that God will bring consolation and peace to his family and his fellow members of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. God bless you, Father Bill