Yesterday we celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of priesthood of my friend Fr. Dan Griffith, with an anniversary Mass, over which he presided, at our Lady or Lourdes Catholic Church (where Dan will take over a pastor on July 1), followed by a lunch. In attendance were members of Dan’s family as well as friends from various walks of his life and it was an honor to be included among them.
I thought afterwards of the number of priests I am privileged to call my friends. Some, like John, Aidan and Tim, are Vincentians. Some, like Joe, Bill, Damian and Greg, are Jesuits. Some, like Reggie, are Dominicans. And some, like Dan, Dale, and another Joe, are diocesan priests. Some I have known for years and other have only recently become a part of my life. They all, in one way or another, enrich my life and I am profoundly grateful for their presence and friendship.
Many people are unhappy that the Catholic Church won’t ordain women. And many are unhappy with the hierarchy for one reason or another. (Take your choice among any number of issues.) And, of course, we all know that some priests have taken advantage of their position and acted in sinful ways. I fear sometimes that one or another of those three things causes people to refrain from recognizing and celebrating the wonderful work done in the name of Christ by many men who have chosen to live their lives as ordained priests. That is a mistake.
Blessings and gratitude to my friend Dan on the 10th anniversary of his ordination. I pray that he will have many more.