Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Loving God and Loving the Little Guy"

Yesterday, as many of you won't enjoy admitting, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick ordained 12 priests for the archdiocese of Washington, its largest class since 1973.

As the Washington Post highlights today, four of the District's new clerics were mentored by a priest who was murdered in 2000.

Before an overflow crowd of about 2,700, the Wells guys were among a dozen men who became Catholic priests at a solemn yet joy-filled ceremony at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast Washington.

One by one, the names of the new priests were proclaimed "for service of the church of Washington." One by one, each answered "Present!" When they turned to face the congregation -- which gave them a long, heartfelt round of applause -- some struggled to contain their emotions. Blinking eyelids, bobbing Adam's apples and firmly pressed lips betrayed their composure....

Four had worked with Wells at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bethesda, and one met him at a parish in Bowie.

"It's so rare to see this many from one place," said the Rev. Edward Burns, who heads the office of vocations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "It just shows the impact one priest can have."

Not to be outdone, McCarrick -- currently Washington's apostolic administrator until the 22 June installation of Archbishop-elect Donald Wuerl -- gave the commencement address last week at Stonehill College, a suburban Boston school run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

Gratefully, the college has posted the text of the cardinal's address. It's Vintage Ted: the Truths of faith couched in the lure of humor, contagious affability, and a resonant, uplifting message.

Pray with me for a minute, just informally, that I say something important because the most important thing is that I say something that should be useful to you on this very special day in your lives -- a very special day in your lives; but, even more, a special day in the lives of your parents because they look at this day as an extraordinary accomplishment for the whole family.

And, I think they take, if it’s possible, more joy and more pride in this day and in what you’ve done than even you do. So, I tell them how proud I am of them too because of what they have managed to do in helping you reach this very special moment in your own life.

I want to share with you the secret of happiness, that’s why I’m here. I will do that by first talking about a cartoon. I’m a big cartoon person. They say the Irish when they open the newspaper, they first look at the obituaries. When I open the newspaper, I first look at the cartoons because often they are the only things I really understand.

There’s a great cartoon in Hagar the Horrible. I don’t know if Hagar the Horrible is in any of the papers around here, but Hagar the Horrible has all kind of wonderful theological and philosophical reflections in the four frames of his cartoon. One day, he’s going up this huge hill. It must have been a Sunday because there were more than four frames. He’s climbing up this hill, climbing up this hill, climbing up and, finally, he gets to the top of this mountain on which is sitting the guru. And, he says “Oh, great guru, please tell me the secret of happiness.”

On the next frame, you see him going down with a real quizzical look on his face. He’s going down, going down, going down. In the last frame, he looks right at us and he says, “It’s really got to be more than just buy low and sell high.” And, it is, and it is.

The secret of happiness is to love each other and to love God, that’s it. No, I’m not going to sit down right now. But, that’s the secret of happiness.
Coming the weekend after the Holy See's announcement on Marcial Maciel, the meditation on Fr Basil Moreau, the founder of the CSCs who "was a great builder, he was a great visionary, and he died as an outcast... divorced from his Congregation and died in terrible poverty and in disgrace" is notable for the confluence of timing.

CNS File