You might notice this issue has a different format than usual. It actually consists of three component sections. The main section, pages 1 to 24, follows an eight-page wrap-around section on the six men who Cardinal Dolan will ordain as priests in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday, May 25. In the center is our eight-page monthly Católico section, pages S-1 to S-8.
Normally, the new priests would be placed in the center section, but with Católico occupying that spot, we had to come up with a different idea. The wrap-around, with pages P-1 to P-8, made a lot of sense.
This isn’t a lesson in newspaper layout, but I wanted to take you inside the process to show how we’re trying to highlight the new priests. Obviously, we could have tucked the pages into the first half of the paper, or arranged some other configuration. The priority placement made more sense, especially this year.
In our last issue, May 9, we published the list of clergy abusers in the archdiocese, both priests and deacons, who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor or have been the subject of eligible IRCP compensation claims. We did so even though the list of 120 clergy members was posted on the archdiocesan website a day after our April 25 issue was published.
Catholic New York readers have told us clearly and rightly so in letters and phone calls how disappointed and angry they are about the miscreant acts of some priests who have abused their positions of trust and service. They’ve also criticized members of the hierarchy for their part in the crisis.
I could go on, but this column’s main thrust is to point to the new priests and show how their decision is a sign of hope for all Catholics in the archdiocese.
We can all agree we need good priests to serve the 292 parishes of the archdiocese. Their priestly vocation is not easy, nor without challenges from many sides. We need their leadership, their prayerful service and their holy example. Those attributes of priestly life help to form a good foundation for strong parishes. It goes without saying that priests bring us the Eucharist and the other sacraments, the lifeblood of our Catholic faith, as we grow in communion with the Lord and others.
Many of you have the good fortune to belong to parishes where your pastors and other priests are effective models of Catholic life and ministry. Please don’t take that for granted. If they are doing a good job, let them hear it from you, and keep them in your prayers.
The half dozen new priests who will be ordained this week include five who will serve the archdiocese and another being ordained for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
You can do the math and understand that an archdiocese the size of New York needs many more young men to hear God’s call to service as a priest.
It can be discouraging to look solely at numbers, so I’ll move in another direction. Each year, I write one or two of the ordination profiles. This spring, when I approached Father Ryan A. Muldoon, who is taking his formation at North American College in Rome, he was ready. He said he had been reading the profiles since he was a boy. His email gave me such a lift, I jokingly told him he got my “email of the day” honors.
Father Muldoon’s replies to my questions were just as uplifting, and I want to leave you with a thought he expressed about his family.
“My family is concerned for my happiness in life, and any small fears they may have had in this regard about my priestly vocation were allayed once I began seminary formation,” he said. “On their early visits to the seminary and ever since, they have been able to sense my fulfillment and the joy of the seminarians in the communities in which I have been blessed to live. When a community is Christ-centered, as the communities where I have been formed are, you cannot help but notice it.”