Again, I would like to take the time (now that the readership for the blog has increased from 5 to 30 people maybe?) to thank Rich and Kathy Papalia from the Erie Diocesan offices, for setting up the website and this blog. None of this would have happened without them. We communicate from separate locations, as I do not work at the Diocese offices, but at my parish office. They have been patient with me in this regard. Thank you!
A few days ago, I was walking by my pastor’s office (my pastor at Our Lady of Peace, Erie, is Fr. Ted Marconi). He was sitting at his computer, watching a DVD of his ordination to the Priesthood in 1984 (I was 3 in 1984!). I watched as he looked at a 26 year-old version of himself, newly marked as Alter Christus, giving a blessing to Bishop Michael J. Murphy (R.I.P. 2007). I wondered, as I watched, what thoughts, feelings, and emotions were running though him (both then and now). How much has happened in his life these past 26 years! How many joys! Yet, how many countless sacrifices!
I too, have a DVD of my ordination to the priesthood in 2007. I watch parts of it from time to time. Usually, when I watch it, it is when I need to be reminded that I am, as Alter Christus, called to be a living sacrifice. There is a reason why, at the Consecration, the priest says, “This is my Body”, and not “This is Jesus’ Body”. The sacrifice of the priest is the Sacrifice of Christ, because the priest is marked on his very being, as Alter Christus. That’s what happened when Bishop Trautman laid his hands on me on June 8, 2007.
Some of you might be hindered from considering priesthood because of the sacrifices that it requires (try Marriage and see what happens!). Do not be afraid! Being a Catholic (and being a Catholic priest) hurts everyday; some days, it hurts a lot. But, it is not the aimless pain we encounter from Hollywood, or from wayward peers. It is the pain of the Cross. The pain of the Cross only lasted 3 hours. The Resurrection of the Jesus is for eternity! The sacrifice of Jesus saved us from eternal death, and we praise Him!
When we deal with pain in a sacrificial way, we conquer it. We break through to life and joy! What a blessing, to be called to be one with the Sacrifice of the Cross, everyday, at God’s altar! Don’t be deterred from the Priesthood because of sacrifice. It’s part of the deal, but only as the gateway to the Christ’s true joys!