Fr. Chris' Article - October 27, 2019

Oct 25, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As I write this, we are wrapping up our priest convocation here in the diocese of Evansville. It has proven to be a wonderful time of recollection and brotherhood for me in particular, and many of the brothers in the priesthood in general.

Many might wonder what exactly a priest convocation is. The word literally means ‘to be called together.’ There are only about 60 priests in our diocese, and about a third of those are retired from parish ministry, though they still travel about to various parishes filling in for the rest of us who are ‘still in the saddle’. Because of our schedules and being often geographically separated, it is difficult if not impossible for us to see each other for any meaningful length of time. All human beings need connection and community, especially among peers, and priests are no exception. Of course, we form meaningful bonds with our people, but the experience of life as a priest is rather unique. It helps to be able to commiserate with guys that are in the same boat in terms of day-to-day life.

It’s also a great opportunity for relatively younger clergy like myself to glean wisdom from those who have been doing it a lot longer than we have. Most notably this year, we honored four remarkable men who together have given 210 years of priestly service to our diocese and to the Catholic Church. On Wednesday night we had a banquet to honor Fathers Ray Brenner, David Nunning, Jim Koressel (all 50 years ordained), and Donald Dilger (60 years). It was quite inspiring not only to hear how these unique and gifted men have given of themselves to the enrichment of the diocesan Church, but also to consider how each of them had impacted me in particular. It was a special delight to see Fr. Dilger present even though he has been recovering from a very difficult heart surgery. He was holding court and thoroughly enjoying himself the whole time.

Priestly life can sometimes be challenging. It can also be immensely rewarding and inspiring. This was one of those times, made possible by men such as these. What makes them most inspiring is not their considerable personal gifts, but their faithfulness to Christ and His call. May they have many more years of fruitful ministry to us and all of God’s people!

In Christ the High Priest,

-Fr. Chris

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