In recent months our diocese has celebrated the anniversaries of many priests who have served the Church of Providence faithfully for 65, 60 and 50 years.
Likewise, our local church has seen four notable pastors retire from active ministry this June as Fathers Davenport, Gregoire, Kiley and Smith now begin new, yet very active, ministries as senior priests. Last Saturday with great sadness the Church of Providence lay to rest one of the legendary priests of the Diocese of Providence, Father John Randall. Their examples of personal holiness and priestly service to the church are worthy not only of high praise and deep gratitude but serve as inspiration for the future of our great church.
This Saturday morning Bishop Tobin calls two more men to follow in the footsteps of holy service provided by the faithful priests who have gone before them. As we joyfully celebrate the ordination of two new priests, we must also look back with fondness and gratitude to those many priests who have entered into a life of well-earned retirement as well as those who have gone on to their eternal reward. The witness of these priests who have served so faithfully the parishes, schools, and hospitals of our diocese merits imitation by the newly ordained. Indeed this holy band of priestly brothers have left their indelible mark upon our church and set the standard for the continuing priestly service to God’s holy people.
With great joy and thanksgiving we offer our congratulations to Stephen Dandeneau and George Nixon on their decision to answer the call to priesthood to serve as priests for the Diocese of Providence. After inquiry among the people of Christ and many years of dedicated study and careful discernment these young men have been found worthy to serve as priests. As Bishop Tobin noted in his Without a Doubt column last week, the celebration of ordination to the priesthood is a time not only for the newly ordained but also for all priests to “to thank God for your vocation and to renew your commitment to serve Christ and His people with generosity, love and joy.”
Fathers Dandeneau and Nixon begin their new life of priestly ministry this Saturday and we applaud their commitment to stay the counter-cultural course and be men of the Gospel. They stand before our church as a great hope for the future and as they do so may they be reminded and indeed inspired by the example of service offered to them by Father Christopher Davenport, Father Wilfred Gregoire, Father John Kiley, Father Nicholas Smith and the late Father John Randall.
Ad multos annos, Father Dandeau and Father Nixon, may your years of priestly ministry in the Church of Providence be as sterling a witness as is the example of the many priests who have labored in the vineyard before you.