instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, April 30, 2007

Once a priest, always a priest

We had a surprise principal celebrant at our parish's 10 a.m. Mass yesterday: Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, who was our Archbishop for five years until his retirement last May.

He was his usual friendly, self-deprecating, humorous self. Also as usual, his homily was a passionate invitation to take up Jesus' invitation to discipleship. In particular, from the readings he drew the thread of those who belong to Christ: in Antioch in Pisidia; before the throne and before the Lamb; in the sheepfold of Christ; and in the parish church of St. Andrew Apostle in Silver Spring, Maryland. If we in the parish church are not one with the Christians of Antioch, if we are not the same Church as it was then and as it will be forever, then what are we doing? But if we are the same Church, then what are we to do?

I was surprised he didn't mention that it was World Day for Vocations in his homily -- he's always been big on vocations, and one of his first acts as Archbishop was to require every parish to add a prayer for vocations to the Prayers of the Faithful -- but then he did give a brief exhortation after Communion, with an emphasis on families supporting the vocations of their children.

He also mentioned that, having waited for things to settle down after his retirement and Archbishop Wuerl's installation, he's resuming his custom of popping by parishes to celebrate Mass with them. (Our pastor had worked in the chancery with him, which I assume is why he came to our parish early on.) And I will say that whatever he's been doing for the last ten or eleven months agrees with him; he looked better and sounded stronger yesterday than he had the last time I saw him, eighteen months ago when he was still carrying a crozier.