Parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Cohasset with their pastor, Father John Mulvehill, and Cardinal O'Malley at the 2012 Dinner in Celebration of the Priesthood. Courtesy photo
After 56 years of priesthood, especially the last 18 years as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Cohasset, I have a deep appreciation for the blessings and gifts that God gives each one of us. Through the eyes of my parishioners at St. Anthony's, I see God at work in their lives and in mine; the faithful help me fulfill my vocation as a priest each and every day.
A pastor's ministry is strengthened by the lay women and men who support the parish. Here at St. Anthony's, my ministry has been blessed by countless people who serve our parish in so many ways. They are catechists, eucharistic ministers, parish council members, or volunteers in a dozen ministries. Called to many roles, they joyfully respond. In our parish, they are living the new evangelization and strengthen my priestly ministry.
Last year, 30 volunteers from St. Anthony's joined me at the annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner. What an evening it was! More than 1,100 people gathered at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, honoring our active clergy, supporting our senior priests, and remembering those who have gone to their eternal reward.
The fifth annual dinner in Celebration of the Priesthood is in just a few weeks, on Thursday, Sept. 26. As one of the largest celebrations of its kind in greater Boston, people from every corner of the archdiocese will attend to honor and support priests. It's a night of thanksgiving and it's a unique opportunity for all in the archdiocese to reflect and remember priests who have made a difference in their lives.
The Celebration of the Priesthood dinner is one of the most powerful ways we can support active and senior priests in the Archdiocese of Boston. Because of the Clergy Funds, I and my 645 brother priests in the Archdiocese of Boston do not have to worry about access to high-quality healthcare or what will happen when we are older and can no longer serve in active ministry. Through the Clergy Funds, the faithful minister to the clergy, offering care and compassion if we become ill or when we retire. In gratitude, I support the Celebration of the Priesthood dinner so that the Church can continue to keep her promise to care for priests for another generation.
This outpouring of generosity, each year, is a sign of love and appreciation for priests and for the blessings of this life. St. Augustine wrote that "love is the beauty of the soul." This beauty is contagious and we cannot help but share it and pass it on to one another. In a sense, this is the life of a priest--to pass on the love of God to others. The Celebration of the Priesthood gives us each an opportunity to say thank you and show our love and thanks for the priests who have been there for us over our lives.
Father John Mullvehill has been a priest for 56 years and is currently pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Cohasset. For more information on the Celebration of the Priesthood dinner, to purchase tickets, or to make a gift, please visit www.celebrationofthepriesthood.org.