Sunday, May 02, 2010

Good Bye CUA and THANK YOU

It’s hard for me to believe that this is my last big 11:00 AM Mass or 9:00 PM Mass here at St. Vincent’s next week most of you will be gone and it will never be this crowded until the class of 2014 comes to CUA at the end of August and the new Chaplain is here.

I have always approached Mass in St. Vinnie’s with fear and reverence.

To this day get goose bumps when we sing the Gloria here or the great AMEN.

It has been such a privilege and a blessing for me to pray with you here in this holy place.

The first thing I want to say is that I am sorry if I ever hurt any of you.

I have always been burdened with a short memory.
It is a terrible thing for a priest to forget someone’s name.

If I ever ignored you or forgot you,
or was not attentive to your needs, I am sorry.

If I ever lost my temper or was frustrated with youI apologize please forgive me.

One of the jokes on campus is that I remember people’s names then I forgot them, I remembered them again then and then I forget them.

You’re right I do.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Next to my chair in my room there was a big white binder with all your pictures.

Before I would go to a building I would look at the pictures of the kids who lived there try and remember their names.
One year I even made flash cards.

When I would come back
I would write little notes next to your picture like

Pray for her mom.
he’s having trouble studying.
She’s not happy
EAN.. extra attention needed ..
Possible Freshman Retreat Team
Funny Kid… or
unmade bed.
Heard he pee’d in the spellavator… talk to him.

Sometimes in the morning when I pray I would pick up the binder look at your pictures and pray for your intentions.

That’s why I would remember and forget and remember and forget.

I know some of you are happy I forgot who you were or what you did.

The binder is never gonna get updated again so if you lived in Spellman this year you are going to live in it forever…

I have loved my time here at Catholic so very much. Yes, you are a very bizarre parish,
a very bizarre beautiful parish,
a very bizarre wonderful parish.

People between the ages of 18-21
Go through so much
You come to CUA adolescents and you leave young adults.
So much comes together for you.

College is kind of like the microwave of life…
I have always loved your passion.
I have always loved to watch you interact with each other.
You have made me laugh until it hurts (what’s this pain) and I have shed a few tears with some of you.

What a privilege, what a privilege, what a privilege it has been for me to share your life.

I am going to miss you and Catholic so much.
The Lord has placed four simple words
on my heart of late some of you know them.
I have been saying them over and over again
whenever I get afraid.
or whenever I realize that I am really leaving you.

Trust, Surrender, Believe, Receive.
Trust, Surrender, Believe, Receive.

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been told that I am going to go to be presented as pastor of a parish. ( I can’t tell you where because I want to be respectful of the Bishop who must approve me)

A parish where I know I will be in awe of the innocence of the little ones in.
(I can’t wait to have lunch with the Kindergartners)
A parish where I will do my best to form some kind of life giving youth ministry that can touch the hearts of the kids in High School.

I am going to a parish where
I will have the privilege of helping to prepare couples for marriage,

I am going to a parish where I will be able to work with actual middle aged people like me… and we can talk about cholesterol together.

Finally what a privilege it will be for me to anoint and hold the hand of a person going home to God. I will be able to console them with the sacrament, comfort them and pray them.

All of these things inspire me.

They are part and parcel of the life of every priest.
I hope I am up to the task.

I know that from the very first moment of my existence I was created to be a priest.
Even with all the scandals and problems our church faces

I wouldn’t trade my life for an instant not one Instant.
I want you all to know that
I know I am not worthy of this call.

I’ve been praying a lot about what I should say to you.

And I have narrowed them down to three simple thoughts…

The First is this.

I assure you.
You will be
a better wife
a better husband
a better father
a better mother
you will be a a better boss
a better employee
a better person
if you allow God into your lives.
Not only that,
but your life will be more peace filled.
and more joyful…. if you allow God into your lives.
With God in your life you can be filled with Joy… a joy that no one can take.
And don’t be afraid when you mess up
we all do….. go to confession and ask God for forgiveness.

I have never had any problem figuring out what to say to my confessors at the Monastery every week… I always have more than enough to say.

Nothing can compare to a life of faith
that is lived and true.… Let God into your life.

The second is this
I challenge you to have a passion for souls
Not just your own soul but everyone’s soul
Have a big enough heart
Have a strong enough heart
Have a brave enough heart
Have a generous enough heart
To Love people to God
that’s what I mean when I say have a passion for souls.

You know Souls come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
there are cantankerous souls
And loving souls
There are souls that always live in fear or shame
There are souls which are addicted
There are poor souls and wretched souls
There are holy souls and gentle souls
And in every soul there is the image and likeness of God

Sometimes you gotta remind yourself that the image and likeness of God is in there someplace. But don’t give up..

Love them to faithLove them to faith In quiet and gentle and humble ways call them to more
and be patient with them when they fall or miss the mark.

We have been given so much here at Catholic
It has to be shared.
Please have a wonderful beautiful passion for souls.

The Third thought is this.

I have become convinced that most important thing a person can do in life is to give their heart away.

That’s the greatest commandment that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel.

I know I know
It’s very scary to hold your heart in your hand and say here…
here’s my heart

I know it is terrifying to say I love you. The dreaded “l” word.

That’s what a parent must give their life to their child.

Couples give their life to each other as they walk through the seasons of life

That’s what dedicated single people do when they give away their lives in loving service.

That’s what priests and religious do when
we try and spread their heart all over a parish,
or a hospital
or all over a campus.

Think of a peanut butter sandwich… you gotta try cover the whole piece of bread.

I know we are all tempted to hold on to our lives and our hearts

I’ve been tempted to stay here and hold to you and all that is beautiful and comfortable for me.
We are all tempted to protect ourselves and our interests

Don’t hold on… let go… that’s what Jesus did
all you have to do is look at the cross to know that… follow Him.

So there are my three thoughts for you…. Repeat after me

Let God into your lives
Have a passion for souls
Give your heart and give your life away

This has been no theological treatise to be sure… but it’s all I’ve got.

Finally I need to ask you one last favor
And that is to pray for the priests and religious
We need your prayers
We count on your prayers
The assumption that all Priests or religious or bishops have our act together is long gone.
That’s probably good.

Now everyone knows we need prayers.

One of you told me yesterday…
Every saint has a past every sinner has a future.
I had never heard that before…

I’ll have to google it and find out who said it.

Please pray for us and please pray for me…
put me in your white binder…

Pray That I may be open to my future in God’s plan
Pray that I can figure out how to spread my heart over a whole parish

I have to admit I’m afraid I won’t know how to do it.
Illustrious Alumni here present

You are some of my dearest friends thank you so much for coming.
Some of you came from so far away…
Thank you…. thank you so much
We had great times together..

I know you are doing great things with your life I love it when I see you with your children and I am so proud of you.

Dear faculty and staff we all know CUA is a great place
sometimes we just take the challenges we face every day too seriously….
Please, never forget to see the wonderful place we have been privileged to help create here…
look at these Gumbas that God has give us…. they are beautiful.

The privilege of preparing the next generation is awesome indeed.

It has been an honor working with so many very dedicated people

I am proud of you and grateful for the chance to serve with you on such a noble cause and I ask your forgiveness for the times I hurt you or disappointed you.

Lastly Holy Ones… wanna be holy ones… and even those who don’t want to be holy for now.

When you sing on the stage in the Harke or outside my window at 3 in the morning.

When you play on our fields… compete on our courts or swim in our pool

When you actually go to class and do your work, go figure…

When you make me laugh or when we share a tear

When you create life giving and holy friendships and relationships

I am proud of you I am proud of you I am proud of you

I thank God because I am so privileged to have spent this time with you

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you

I’ve not exactly sure why I am leaving CUA.

But I trust my religious superiors.

And I surrender my life to God or at least I want to surrender my life to God.

And I believe that he loves me as messed up as I can be

And I know that I will receive the graces I need wherever I go.

Trust surrender believes receive


Brian Keaney said...

I wish I could have been there, FB. Best of luck and Godspeed.

Katherine said...

Father Bob,

What an emotional mass! Your homily touched me deeply. Thank you for the blessing over the seniors, I feel that it was the moment that began the graduation ceremonies - before last night it hadn't hit me that I will be leaving this place, my home for the last 4 years. I didn't have too many personal interactions with you over the years but you have touched my life continually during my time at CUA. Please keep going with the blog and let us know how you are doing... your views/explanations of the readings and gospel always help me to reflect on my own life and my relationship with God. Thank you for everything


Meggie said...

I love you, Father Bob. Thank you. -Meggie Monahan, Class of '07

Flag said...

Fr Bob,
I was almost one of those in your white binder...but GOD said your home is elsewhere. I was blessed to visit CUA 4 years ago and in a year I will walk across the stage at the school I ended up but...I will always remember the feeling of coming home that I felt at both places (CUS and my school).

Fr Bob your Goodbye to CUA, made cry.

I can be found at