Return to ‘Ordinary Time’

This article originally appeared in the parish bulletin on June 9, 2013

Here we are, on a numbered Sunday of Ordinary Time for the first time since February 10. The Lenten Season, Easter Time, and two solemnities have passed since then, and we are setting out on very long stretch of Sundays that bear numbers as they are counted off from today, the Tenth Sunday, until November 17, the Thirty-Third Sunday. In almost every year the numbered Sundays are interrupted once or twice for a solemnity (such as Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, or the Assumption on August 15) that is important enough to replace a Sunday of Ordinary Time. But this year the dates line up in such a way that that does not happen at all. So we will gradually unfold the mystery of our salvation on these 24 Sundays until the Solemnity of Christ the King right before Thanksgiving.


Wednesday of this week was the last day of school for students at Faithful Shepherd, the school founded by our parish and the two parishes in Eagan. Graduation was Tuesday evening for our eighth graders. In your own family you may have taken note of the conclusion of an eighth grader’s year in a public school – even when the transition from eighth to ninth grades is not given a lot of attention. I wish everyone a happy time in the months ahead.

We are now safely within that time out of time in Minnesota that we call summer. It has been a slow start for the season of warm weather, and so people everywhere seem eager to get outdoors and enjoy those pleasant days we do experience. That means travel for a lot of people. All priests of our Archdiocese who are not retired must do a little indoor summer activity every other year by attending the Presbyteral Assembly. Since 1997 this series of meetings has been held at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester, and this year about 300 priests will participate from June 17-20. In years in which the Assembly takes place, there are a few days in most parishes without the presence of priests or the celebration of weekday Mass. At St. Peter’s, our relationship with Fr. Frederick Sserugga, who is a graduate student at the University of St. Thomas, means that the people of the parish will enjoy the benefit of his ministry for some of the days. He will celebrate Mass on Monday and Tuesday, June 17 and 18, at 9:00 in the Historic Church as usual. But on Wednesday and Thursday of that week, Fr. Frederick will celebrate Mass at St. Joseph’s in West St. Paul, and there will be no Mass at St. Peter’s. I will be back to celebrate Mass as usual on Friday, June 21.


I have had one little getaway already, as I attended a class reunion at Notre Dame in Indiana. It has been 20 years since I graduated from there, and as I write these words I still can scarcely believe it’s possible that my college years were so long ago. I enjoyed seeing some of my friends again. Now, this was a reunion year for everyone who graduated five, ten, 15, 20, 25, and so on through 50 years ago. Anyone who graduated in 1963 or earlier can come to the reunion every year. In other words, only a fraction of those on campus last weekend were my classmates from 1993. I enjoyed talking with old friends as well as those I never knew when I was a student. Visiting all the places I once knew and seeing how things have changed was also a thrill.

The first thing I did when I arrived on campus was to put on vestments and concelebrate at the intimate Mass for just the Class of 1993, held in the chapel of a dorm called Cavanaugh Hall. All weekend people I didn’t know kept thanking me and telling me I did a “great job,” which really was thoughtful as all I had to do was stand there and say some of the prayers quietly and others out loud! I offered that Mass for my deceased classmates. On the next day there was a Mass for all classes in a giant domed hall called the Joyce Center. I was able to concelebrate with 20 other priests, including the current president of the university, the former president (the one who was familiar to me), and the legendary Fr. Hesburgh, who served as university president years ago and who is now 96. I offered that Mass for the repose of the soul of our parishioner Richard Conklin, whose funeral was that very same day back here at St. Peter’s, and which I had to miss because of my travels. I thought he would be pleased that the Mass I celebrated for him was concelebrated by the former presidents he knew in his years as a university administrator at Notre Dame, particularly Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy. A final Mass I was able to concelebrate was on Sunday morning at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus. My intention that day was for all of you, the people of my parish. A pastor is required to celebrate one Mass for his people on every Sunday and holy day, and that was when I offered Mass for you.

When I returned to the parish on Tuesday morning I was greeted in the sacristy by Deacon Joseph Kavuma, who has now begun his time with us at St. Peter’s. You will see him regularly for these ten weeks. Please do introduce yourselves and get to know Deacon Joseph!

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