Today’s column is just a collection of odds and ends. First of all, Happy Memorial Day! This is the weekend we remember the great sacrifice made by the men and women of our Armed Forces in the defense of our liberties. The best way to honor and celebrate them is not with parades, bands and picnics, but a renewed resolve to protect and promote the liberties for which they fought and died. We still have much work to do to insure “liberty and justice for all.” Living up to the ideals on which our nation was founded is by far the best way to honor our fallen heroes. Happy Memorial Day!
This weekend traditionally marks the end of the school year. This past Thursday our 8th grade class from St Austin Catholic School graduated. The University of Texas at Austin held commencement last weekend. High schools in our area are celebrating graduations. Congratulations to all the graduates, to all the teachers, and especially to all the parents who shepherded and guided the students through their academic labyrinths.
And this weekend we host Mr. Sam Bass, a seminarian for the Diocese of Austin, who will be with us to tell us a little about the vocation program of the Diocese, and to thank us for our support. Please make Sam feel welcome.
This may be a good opportunity to explain a little about the relationship between the Paulist Fathers and the Diocese of Austin. Not everyone is familiar with how our relationship works. The Paulist Fathers are a religious community similar to the Jesuits, Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Augustinians, Holy Cross Fathers, and about 1,000 other groups. Each group has its own particular works, style and “charism” (gifts). The Paulists were founded rather recently, just over 150 years ago, here in the United States, and so have a more American flavor. For example, we popularly elect our “president” (as opposed say to a “Superior General” for the Jesuits). The Paulists came to Austin in 1908 to serve the needs of the University of Texas community. Basically we are sub-contractors working at the pleasure of the Bishop. The Bishop of Austin is the chief liturgical officer of this Diocese, and he contracts with us to operate this parish and the University Catholic Center for him. The Paulists are free to leave if they should ever choose to do so, and the Bishop is free to send us packing if he should ever choose to do so. About 2 years ago we were disinvited from the Diocese of Minneapolis for reasons we still have not discovered. And this year we chose to withdraw from our parish in Portland, Oregon. So it does happen.
The Paulists train our own seminarians, and over the years you have seen novices, seminarians, pastoral years students, spend part of their training with us in the parish. Mr. Sam Bass is a seminarian for the Diocese. He will be ordained by the Bishop of Austin, and most probably spend his entire priestly career in this Diocese. That is the ordinary form of priesthood.
The Paulists and the Diocese of Austin have a long, mutually beneficial, and very positive relationship. We support the local diocesan priesthood, and they support us. For example, next week each of the Paulists here will be spending time at the Diocesan Priests Convocation to check in, fraternize with, and support the local clergy. We derive mutual support from each other. We try to cover for them when they can, and they for us. It is a positive relationship.