15th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am grateful beyond all telling to everyone who shared in the celebration of my ordination anniversary last weekend, and for your many cards, gifts, and expressions of support, I thank each of you most sincerely. The whole experience was an occasion of grace and joy, and I cannot imagine a better way to begin the next 25 years of my service to the Church. My family and friends who came to St Mary’s for the weekend were delighted in every way with our green and pleasant corner of the vineyard, and they were deeply touched by the reverent dignity of our common prayer, by the beauty of our campus, and by the gracious reception of everyone here.

My old friend George Weigel writes a syndicated column called “The Catholic Difference” which appears in many diocesan newspapers and on several websites, including the indispensable “First Things,” and I was mortified to discover that his column last week was dedicated to me on the occasion of my Silver Jubilee. I am not accustomed to feeling abashed and embarrassed, but seeing George’s column was a bit like reading my own obituary! While I am grateful for the kindness of my friends, I am chiefly aware that I am an unworthy servant and have done no more than my duty, and I am grateful for your patience with my faults and frailty as we strive together to live in the truth of the Gospel.

And with that, we look now to the future. Labor Day is seven weeks away, which means we have not quite two more months of a leisurely summer pace, but once we get going again, there are many things to do. The Program of Catholic Studies will return with new classes, and our annual presentation of an “Introduction to Catholicism” will be offered to those who want to learn more about our Faith and consider joining the Church. Please consider inviting someone you know to participate in that exploration of Catholic Christianity, including the lapsed Catholics who are probably among your family and friends.

There will also be a conference in September sponsored by the Center for Evangelical Catholicism (CEC) on the social doctrine of the Church, and three distinguished Catholic thinkers will be here to help us understand why “social justice” as the Church understands it is not the same thing intended by secular thinkers when they use that term. This conference is about theology, not politics, but since every political question is at root a theological question, a deeper knowledge of the Church’s social doctrine cannot but have consequences for one’s understanding of political responsibility. Please see the eBulletin for more information, or go to the CEC website at evangelicalcatholicism.com and plan now to join us for this important conference.

Be safe, and enjoy the remaining weeks of Summer!

Father Newman