Read the personal comments in the St. Louis Review’s 2019 Jubilarian section honoring archdiocesan priests and deacons and women and men religious, and you’ll be amazed at how happy they are with their life of service to the Church.
They’ve taught in Catholic schools, taken care of the sick in Catholic hospitals and accompanied the poor and downtrodden in social justice ministries. Priests have celebrated the Eucharist and administered the sacraments in all times, whether good and bad, in sickness and in health.
It’s appropriate that the section honoring the jubilarians for their years of service is published in October, which is celebrated as Respect Life Month in the Church. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., who was ordained as a priest in St. Louis, issued a statement launching Respect Life Month with a theme of “Christ Our Hope: in Every Season of Life.” He stated, “Jesus asks us to be as leaven in the world, to bring His light to the darkness. Our daily activities take each of us to places only we can go, to people only we will meet. May we allow Christ to renew and strengthen us, that He may work through us in each moment of every day.”
Those comments hold true for our jubilarians. Their efforts in so many areas — serving in parishes, schools, hospitals, prisons, food pantries, missions and so many more places — bring Christ to the people of God. Sometimes it’s just by showing how deeply we are loved by God, which impels us to share His love with others. They’ve embraced a relationship with God, following in His footsteps, wherever He may call. Their mission field may mean moving to a foreign country, but it also is found in daily life.
Pope Francis, in his “Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People,” asks all Christian people to be increasingly aware of the gift which is the presence of our many consecrated man and women “heirs of the great saints who have written the history of Christianity.”
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, cited the letter in asking us to look to the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and embrace the future with hope. “Praying for vocations to these orders is one of the best ways” to embrace the future, Archbishop Carlson stated.
In his column in the Review, Archbishop Carlson has called those in the consecrated life as well as in the ordained ministry a blessing and gift to the archdiocese.
We are all called to be “missionary disciples” who are willing to move beyond our comfort zones to proclaim the Good News and serve others, especially the poor and those who are most vulnerable, he stated.
We owe our archdiocesan priests and deacons and our men and women religious our gratitude. This issue of the St. Louis Review, in a small way, commemorates their lifetimes of achievement.