I feel blessed having the opportunity to speak with many of our retired priests living at the Villa St. Joseph in Darby. As their bodies get weaker, their faith and wisdom get stronger.
In these days of struggles (“Troubles”) within our church, I want to share two experiences from the Villa that affirmed my faith in God’s grace and the priesthood.
About six weeks ago, I spoke with a priest in his 90s. He was aware that death was near. I asked him if he was afraid to die. His answer was, “I’m not afraid to die. I just hope Jesus knows I love him and tried hard to be a good priest.”
I observed, “I’m sure he knows what a good and dedicated priest you have been.” He died two weeks ago.
Another priest, also 90-something and still with us, after being interviewed by a young seminarian, asked to speak with me. During our conversation, he said, “Joe, make sure the seminarian knows I want him to always put Christ first.”
I felt it was a privilege to be in the presence of two retired priests whose hearts were still devoted to the Lord.
May all of us, priests, seminarians, religious and laity, be inspired by their example.
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