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The monks spent the past 24 hours on a Day of Recollection.  For me, the end of the calendar year is a time to reflect upon the blessings of 2013, and there were many.  I am grateful for the friends and family who have shown me such great kindness and support throughout the year.  I will share a few big events for which I am grateful:

  • Graduation from St. Vincent Seminary on May 10, 2013
  • My ordination to the priesthood on May 16, 2013
  • Celebrating Mass at my home parish on Pentecost Sunday
  • Returning to St. John and Paul Parish (Wexford, PA) to celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving in on September 14-15

740_Fr Paul Ordination 1 094Above:  Archbishop anoints my hands during the ordination ceremony.

The monks assembled this afternoon for a Holy Hour to pray for World Peace.  We read from Pope Francis’ message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace (1 January 2014).  Our Holy Father focuses on the topic of “Fraternity,” especially as the means to end disputes, conflict, war, and alleviate poverty.  He writes, “Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed to. But only love, bestowed as a gift from God, enables us to accept and fully experience fraternity.”

The monks will gather again to celebrate First Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  Pope Francis fittingly concludes his message, saying, “May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, help us to understand and live every day the fraternity that springs up from the heart of her Son, so as to bring peace to each person on this our beloved earth.”


As we conclude 2013 and embark on a New Year, may we reflect back upon the blessings of this past year.  May God bless you and your loved ones in abundance with peace, joy, and good health!