Please Pray for Priests, Holy Father, and Me

On June 29, 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained a priest.

George and Joseph Ratzinger ordination day
I had a chance to meet then-Cardinal Ratzinger in February of 2005, about ten weeks before he had to change his plans for retirement.

I was visiting Rome with a friend from Raleigh, N.C. In our brief conversation with him, Card. Ratzinger expressed interest in the region between North Carolina and Washington, D.C. He admitted to knowing little about the “upper South,” and wanted to learn.

Anyway…On June 29, we solemnize the memory of the twin patrons of the church of Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. This year, the Holy Father will celebrate the 60th anniversary of his ordination. He has asked the entire Catholic world to pray for vocations to the priesthood as a way of wishing him a happy anniversary.

It also happens that June 29 will be the day when your unworthy servant will begin my ministry as the pastor of both Franklin and Henry counties, Virginia.

My predecessor in Martinsville will be on the way to sunny Florida. My adventures up and down US 220 will begin.

Perhaps, then, dear ones, while you are praying for our Holy Father’s health, and for vocations to the priesthood throughout the world, you could also say a little prayer for this gangly numbskull.

…By the by, we have come around the three-year cycle to another “summer of Romans” (St. Paul’s letter, that is). This summer I intend to preach on Matthew 13 instead, but if you have any interest in the prattlings I made three summers ago, you can click HERE.

More Sunniness

I should have included Van Gogh’s “Church at Auvers” on Friday. Please forgive me for neglecting it.

…Mount Caradhras rises over the Dimrill Dale in Anduin (Middle Earth). Mount Cahas rises over Franklin County in Virginia.

We cannot be certain of Caradhras’ elevation. Cahas is 3,000 feet above sea level.

When I was a wee seminarian, I visited some classmates out in the windswept wilds of the country. They looked forward to circuit-riding careers. I thought to myself then, “Someday, if it please God, I will be the only priest in some county somewhere.”

As Providence would have it, I will be the only priest in two counties: The magnificent piedmont estates of the Old Dominion named for Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry, respectively. US 220 links us with the rest of the world.

Joe Gibbs in Martinsville, Va., last October