Letter from the Pastor from April 29
Last weekend’s celebration with Fr. Tom DeMan was quite wonderful. A number of alumni from the 80s attended a special dinner in Fr. Tom’s honor on Saturday evening. On Sunday, he celebrated the 11:15 Mass and greeted everyone out under the Ramada at a special reception. Again, there were many Newman Alumni present. Among them were Tom Booth and his wife, Tammy. Tom was gracious to sing one of his new songs after communion to honor Fr. Tom’s role in his ministry as a church musician and Catholic recording artist. Fr. Tom has influenced many people during his 50 years of priesthood and we were happy to help him celebrate this special jubilee year.
I spent the week in Chandler at the diocesan priest convocation. The keynote presenter was Bishop Robert McElroy, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. His background is in American political history and moral theology. The best way to characterize his three presentations as a group is : Being an informed Catholic in the world of American Political and Social Life. They were informative and superb. I learned a lot and will be using some of what I learned to address specific topics in the fall as the presidential election approaches. The basic contention of his talk (it was for priests) was that we (priests) are not responsible for transforming secular, political life; that is the work of the laity. Our responsibility is to provide for good conscience formation to aid the laity in their work… none of that is news to me, but the moral imperative of it was strongly expressed by Bishop McElroy. That emphasis on conscience and its role in political decision making (indeed in our entire moral life) can be given simple lip service and never really attended to as we actually make moral and political decisions. I want us to look more deeply at these questions and the year of a presidential election is a good time to do so. Much more on this after the summer hiatus.
In addition to Bishop McElroy’s presentations, there were other sessions and lots of opportunities for networking and fraternity. The bishop and the priests of the diocese go out of their way to welcome religious priests and to incorporate us into the life of the diocese. For that I am grateful. The convocation was just one more affirmation for me of how good it is to minister in this Diocese.