I was filled with great delight when it was announced that in 1980 the Deaconate Ordinations were to take place in the Diocese of Rochester on October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. That was when I and some of my classmates from St. Bernard Seminary and some seminarians from the Basilian Fathers were ordained deacons at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester. That was forty years ago! Boy, time sure does fly by! I have a picture from that ordination of Bishop Matthew Clark looking down at all of us about to be ordained who were lying prostrate on the Cathedral floor as the Litany of Saints was being chanted. I remember the humbling feeling I had as I thought of the Bishop united with the priests and all those present in the cathedral that day, including my parents and family and friends, calling upon all the Saints in heaven to pray for us. I was filled with a such a strong sense of God’s love and abiding presence.
I remember as people congratulated me after the service many people spoke to me about the “Big” ordination that still awaited me, the one to the Priesthood. In my mind the Deaconate Ordination was the “Big” step for me! It was then that I took the vow of chastity and the vow of obedience to the Bishop and his successors. My full commitment to God and the diocese to a life of service had begun. I thank God and his people for the many blessings I have received since that special day.
The next year I would finish my studies at St. Bernard Seminary as part of its last graduating class. After the seminary closed the statue of St. Bernard that had stood at the seminary for years was moved to St. Bernard Cemetery in Scipio Center. That statue of St. Bernard will soon be joined by the bell that the first Bishop of Rochester, Bishop Bernard McQuaid. donated to St. Bernard Church in Scipio Center. The bell rang clearly calling parishioners to worship until like St. Bernard Seminary the church was closed. It seems fitting that these two symbols of church institutions named after Saint Bernard find a resting place in St. Bernard Cemetery where many of our loved ones were laid to rest. May they remain there as symbols of our faith and prayers for years to come. God’s blessing and peace, Father Bill
As we celebrate Respect Life Sunday, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Gospel of Life, and continue to grow in our understanding of political engagement, we are reminded of Saint Pope John Paul II’s words that human life finds itself most vulnerable when it enters the world and when it leaves the realm of time to embark upon eternity (Evangelium Vitae, 44). As we challenge our political leaders to support the dignity of human life, let us all take responsibility to walk with those in need at critical moments of decision-making. Questions for reflection: On the preeminent priority of abortion, as described by the U.S. Bishops in the introductory note of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, how can I work with political leaders to end the tragedy of abortion in my community? How can I walk with moms-in-need this year to show that support for women and children in crisis is available? For more information please go to www.LifeRoc.org.
Annual National Life Chain is TODAY, Sunday, Oct 4th, Respect Life Sunday. from 2-3PM at the intersection of Groton Ave and Main St, in nearby Cortland. Join us in this peaceful, prayerful, family-friendly event for just one hour. Save lives and change hearts to choose loving, life affirming options. Wear a mask and social distance. For more info contact Petrina Fadel, 898-3978 or Carolann Darling 607-351-6668
You can make a difference! 40 Days For Life - happening now, everyday until Nov 1st! 7AM til 7 PM Daily. Come and pray for an end to abortion at the vigil site, across the street from Planned Parenthood, 620 W. Seneca St, Ithaca.
Visit http://www.40daysforlife.com/Ithaca for the vigil calendar and local resources. For more Info: Carolann 607-351-6668