WORD OF GOD

‘There is an appointed time for everything’ (Eccles. 3:1)

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Wisdom 7:7-11
Responsorial: Psalm 90:12-17
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:12-13
Gospel: Mark 10:17-27

In four-score years, one lives through many passages; family, friends, familiar places and things that were taken for granted are gone. Their passing stirs up resting memories just as a strong wind sends flying the pile of leaves in a hidden corner.

This year, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception ended its mission of forming men for the priesthood. I spent 20 years there, from 1950 to 1956 as a seminarian and from 1965 to 1979 on the faculty, with the last six of those years as rector. The closing of the seminary doors opened the doors of my mind to memories of the hundreds of men with whom I shared life and vocation: those who became priests and those who didn’t, faculty colleagues and friends, the staff in the office and those who cared for the building and its extensive and beautiful surroundings. I can still picture the choir stalls in the awe-inspiring chapel filled with lines of men in black cassock and white surplice. I recall the idealism and enthusiasm during the years when the Second Vatican Council showed a whole new way for the Church and the world to relate to each other. I remember the reality shock when experience showed that this new relationship would not be all sweetness and light, a steady, unhampered march toward the Kingdom of God. I was part of the first steps incorporating the laity into the life and mission of the seminary and, with a smile, I can still feel some of the awkwardness when we realized that among those lay people would be women and that called for some new arrangements in the building.

Today marks the final issue of another part of our Catholic life that I had always taken for granted. The first issue of The Long Island Catholic appeared on May 3, 1962. Soon after I returned from studies and began teaching in 1965, I was asked to write a weekly column on the Sunday Scriptures. This I did for about five years. Through later years, I wrote an occasional piece on an issue that the editors or I thought significant. The circle has come full-turn as in the past few years, I have been part of a team of priests who have tried to help make the Sunday readings more understandable and relevant.

I remember the editors over the years. The first, Msgr. Dick Hanley, whose rapid fire speech won him the nickname “Machine Gun.” Dick Guilderson. Father Paul McKeever. Msgr. Dan Hamilton. Msgr. Frank Maniscalco. Liz O’Connor. Rick Hinshaw. Each brought a talent, a vision and a strong dedication to our Church and diocese. Others have had a long-time connection with the paper. Tom Moloney, who seemed to be everywhere taking pictures of diocesan events and people. Reporter Pete Sheehan. Now The Long Island Catholic passes into the archives of our diocese.
Over its 83 years the Seminary and over its 50 years The Long Island Catholic have had one purpose – to raise the question of the man in this Gospel, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The First Reading tells us that Wisdom is the great gift that opens our minds and hearts to the meaning of life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,” not cringing fear but an awe-filled recognition of the wonder of God. The Second Reading explains how this Wisdom comes from “the word of God ... penetrating even between soul and spirit ... able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Seminary and newspaper sought to share this Wisdom, this Word.

Times change. Difficult decisions have to be made to deal with new circumstances. Our seminarians continue to be formed by many of the same faculty, now with men from Brooklyn, New York and other dioceses and religious communities in St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie.  The magnificent facility at Huntington continues as a center for continuing formation of clergy, for training of deacons and laity, as a place for retreat and reflection. The Long Island Catholic Magazine will take the place of our weekly newspaper.

May God guide these new initiatives in inspiring searchers for the meaning of life and guiding them to the Wisdom to find it.

For those who have made the seminary more than a building and The Long Island Catholic more than a newspaper, Thank you and God Bless!

THIS WEEK'S READINGS

Mon., Oct. 15 — (Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church)Reading I: Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1; Responsorial: Ps 113:1b-2, 3-4, 5a and 6-7; Gospel: Lk 11:29-32
Tues., Oct. 16 — Reading I: Gal 5:1-6; Responsorial: Ps 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48; Gospel: Lk 11:37-41
Wed., Oct. 17 — (Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr) Reading I: Gal 5:18-25; Responsorial: Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; Gospel: Lk 11:42-46
Thurs., Oct. 18 — (Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist) Reading I: 2 Tm 4:10-17b; Responsorial: Ps 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18; Gospel: Lk 10:1-9
Fri., Oct. 19 — (Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions, martyrs) Reading I: Eph 1:11-14; Responsorial: Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 12-13; Gospel: Lk 12:1-7
Sat., Oct. 20 — Reading I: Eph 1:15-23; Responsorial: Ps 8:2-3ab, 4-5, 6-7; Gospel: Lk 12:8-12