This past weekend I had the opportunity to join some of my priest-classmates and other friends as we celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Priestly Ordination of one of my long-time friends, Msgr. Gregory Gordon. Msgr. Gordon is a priest of the Diocese of Las Vegas, NV. (As you probably remember, I also celebrated twenty-five years of ministerial Priesthood in May, 2012.) This jubilee was a special opportunity for us to join together and to spend some time renewing friendships while making some new ones. Our common bond was the ministerial Priesthood of Jesus Christ in which we are privileged to share.
While in Las Vegas—affectionately known as Sin City—we participated in a number of rather holy occasions. Among the various Masses and receptions that we attended, we witnessed the inaugural broadcast of Immaculate Heart Catholic Radio in the city of Las Vegas. Now the people in this area have 24 hour Catholic broadcasting over the airwaves!
I began reminiscing back to 1987 to St. Ann’s Church in Wildwood, NJ where I was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood by the late Bishop George H. Guilfoyle. Bishop Guilfoyle had been a former Auxiliary Bishop of New York City before heading our diocese. My ordination was at the beginning of the Marian Year, called at the time by Blessed Pope John Paul II
Many things have changed in the Church in 25 years. Parishes have been merged. Unfortunately, some churches were closed. Some of my seminary schoolmates are now bishops heading their own dioceses or serving as auxiliaries in various larger archdioceses. Various people come and go, in and out of our lives.
When I occasionally look at the videos of my Ordination and First Mass—filmed by a couple of my high school classmates—I am reminded of those various people who are no longer with us, including Bishop Guilfoyle, a number of diocesan priests and my own father.
During my priesthood in the Diocese of Camden, I have seen three other bishops serve as its leader—Bishop James McHugh, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, and Bishop Joseph Galante—and this morning I received word that Bishop Dennis Sullivan has been appointed the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Camden.
Interestingly, Bishop Sullivan begins here after serving as an Auxiliary Bishop of New York City. He begins as our leader in this Year of Faith, recently called by Pope Benedict XVI.
We welcome Bishop Sullivan to our diocese and we offer him our prayers and support. May your years in our diocese bring a deepened faith to the people you serve!
Ad Multos Annos!
Fr. Ed Namiotka