My first priesthood assignment after my ordination was to St. Patrick Church in Seneca Falls and my pastor was Father Conboy. Our diocese at the time had a three year intern program for the newly ordained and Father Conboy was my supervisor in that program. It was quite a regimented process. We had to draw up a contract between us and I had to set goals for ministry, prayer and spirituality as well as personal development and growth. We had to met together once a week for supervisory sessions. I also had to meet once a month with the other priest interns and the pastor supervisors had to meet together once a month as well, and all of us, the priest interns with their supervisors, also had to meet together once a month. We also had a lay intern committee made up of parishioners that we met with regularly. I must say that at times all the meetings were a little burdensome, but I thank God for the process and I thank Father Conboy for the help he gave me as a pastor/supervisor.
Besides giving me advice as to how to be a good priest he gave me a good example of how to be a hard worker no matter what the task was. Ever Saturday he would go over to the church to make sure things were set up for the weekend and between Masses he might have been seen pushing a carpet sweeper to tidy up the church for the next Mass. He would then mop the kitchen floor and clean out the refrigerator. We did not have a cook at the rectory and most days he prepared the night meal, and a good cook he was. He also was a gracious host and would prepare delicious meals for his fellow priests and friends. One trait that he had that I admired, but have not necessarily made my own, was his habit of writing notes of thanks to people. At night he often was found sitting in a lounge chair watching TV and writing thank you notes at the same time! Michael had a lot of sayings that he often used, one of which was “When we work we work hard and when we play we play hard.” He did both.
I was blessed to have spent two years with him in Seneca Falls; and I eventually forgave him for leaving to start another pastorate before my Internship was complete. But I was blessed a second time to serve with him at St. Joseph Church in Penfield for two years. It was topping on the cake to have him serving with me in Aurora these past six years. Michael, may you rest in peace. Keep us in your prayers, God’s peace to all, Father Bill