Monday, September 16, 2002

God is Good. All the Time!

This past Friday I had the honor of participating in the episcopal ordination of Bishop Earl Boyea. Bishop Boyea will be an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He returns to his native diocese after spending 3 years as the Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum, the only Pontifical seminary in the United States.

When then-Monsignor Boyea's appointment was announced in late July I was very happy, as I was privileged to have Bishop Boyea as my spiritual director at Sacred Heart Seminary, where he served as Professor of Church History and Academic Dean. He was a great source of support and encouragement in persevering in my vocation.

The Archdiocese of Detroit has been given a great gift in it's new Bishop, and it's my prayer that Bishop Boyea's zeal for the Catholic Faith and love for the Church will make a mark in Detroit and beyond.

During my visit to Detroit, I stayed at Sacred Heart, and was able to spend some time visiting with the seminarians from my own diocese of Kalamazoo. I am very impressed by these young men: They are intelligent, they love the Church, and want to be uncompromising witnesses to Christ and His gospel. I was also impressed by the fact that we have 6 new seminarians this year. That may not sound like a lot, but for a diocese as small as Kalamazoo (110,000 catholics), that's doing very well indeed. This new group of men increases our number of seminarians by almost 50% over last year. When I consider that when I joined my diocese in 1998 I was one of three seminarians, and that now we have 13, I'd say that things are looking up indeed!

I have read some speculation that the blot upon the priesthood caused by The Situation would drive aspirants away from the priesthood. I have heard some priests' lament that the scandals would devastate seminary recruitment. Well, I was skeptical about that thinking at the time, and it seems that my skepticism was justified. It is my belief, and my hope, that The Situation will be a time of purification for the Church. I think that God will raise up many zealous and holy priests even in the midst of scandal. Given the evidence within my own little diocese, I think we have good reason to be hopeful.