NEVER TOO LATE
Another nice thing which happens at this time every year is an annual celebration of the Eucharist and luncheon for retired priests in the Diocese. It is something started at least nine years ago and it takes place on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We have long been blessed as a local Church by the presence of retired priests from many dioceses and religious communities throughout the US and Canada. The weather has a lot to do with enticing men who have sometimes already completed forty, fifty and sixty years of priestly ministry, usually up north, to come south for their retirement years. What is so edifying is that almost all wish to continue in priestly ministry (while few understandably want anything to do with administration). So they have been and are a wonderful help at many of our parishes and as the number of our own active priests declines, our own men depend on them.
Today about forty of the retired priests joined me at the Bethany Center for Mass and a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and all the trimmings. They love their priesthood and they love the priests and people of this diocese and this is a way in which I can both acknowledge their important presence and thank them for their service. Most will have some place to go on Thanksgiving Day but for some it is their Thanksgiving. I thanked them for all they do and told them that many people in this diocese on Thursday would be thanking the Lord of the harvest for these special workers in his fields for whom it is never to late to serve as priest.