Monday, September 24, 2012

New Rochelle Province Celebrates 2012 Jubilarians

New Rochelle Province 
Celebrates 2012 Jubilarians

The New Rochelle Province honored 16 confreres who have reached major milestones on their journeys in the footsteps of our Savior and of Don Bosco. Two of the 16 were unable to be present.

The celebration took place at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y., during the long weekend of the annual fall meeting of the directors and pastors of the province. The 11:00 a.m. Mass in the Shrine chapel also attracted the regular Sunday congregation that worships at that time; thus it was a “standing-room-only” situation.

Besides the directors and pastors, there was a significant presence of other Salesians, Cooperators, and the ten FMA novices and their two staff—and, of course, the families of many of the jubilarians. Fifty-five priests, including eleven jubilarians, concelebrated with Fr. Tom Dunne, the presider and preacher.

The jubilarians were Fr. Pete Granzotto (Port Chester, Corpus Christi Parish), 65 years professed; Fr. Javier Aracil (ditto) and Fr. Dominic DeBlase (Haverstraw, Marian Shrine), 60 years professed; Fr. Joe Hannon (St. Pete Catholic) and Fr. Pete Malloy (provincial house), 50 years professed; Fr. Tom Brennan (United Nations), Bro. Bill Hanna (St. Pete Catholic), Fr. Luc Lantagne (Montreal, Maria Auxiliatrice Parish and Salesian Mission Office), and Bro. Tom Sweeney (Washington, DB Cristo Rey HS), 40 years professed; Fr. Gus Baek (Stony Point, Reborn Young Christ Korean ministry), Fr. Franco Pinto (Haverstraw, DB Retreat Center), and Fr. Lazar Arasu (East Boston, student; missionary in Uganda), 25 years professed; Fr. Paul Grauls (Washington, Nativity Parish) and Fr. Waclaw Swierzbiolek (Haverstraw, Polish ministry), 50 years ordained; and Fr. Tom Dunne (provincial) and Fr. Tito Iannacio (Montreal, Maria Auxiliatrice Parish), 40 years ordained.

As part of the Mass, the men celebrating ordination anniversaries renewed their priestly commitment.
Vice provincial Fr. Steve Dumais leads Fr. Grauls, Fr. Swierzbiolek, and Fr. Dunne in the renewal of priestly commitment.
And those celebrating profession anniversaries (first vows) renewed their vows.

Fr. Tom preached on the readings of the day, particularly the gospel (Mark 9:30-37). This passage has two parts, both of which he spoke about. 1st, when Jesus made his second prediction of his passion and death, the disciples again were in denial. This wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting. 2d, Jesus tells them to receive a child as if receiving himself. The disciple is called to serve those who are powerless.

Both of these messages are countercultural. They’re difficult to comprehend. It would be easy for anyone to miss the point of real discipleship and to look the wrong way. Because the messages of Jesus are so challenging, conversion is necessary. The disciples weren’t converted until the Holy Spirit came upon them. We Salesians struggle to understand and follow Jesus’ teaching, to run counter to the prevailing culture, to sacrifice our own ambitions.

The jubilarians have aspired to follow a Jesus who serves others. Their practice of the evangelical counsels fosters this service. This day of honoring the jubilarians, Fr. Tom said, “is all about God’s goodness and grace,” no matter the difficulties we face. His grace sustains them and us.

Finally, Fr. Tom reminded the confreres that the Rector Major has called upon all of us to be mystics, prophets, and servants in our following of Jesus and of Don Bosco.

A dinner in honor of the jubilarians followed at The Grill at Patriot Hills in Stony Point.

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