From the Pastor – October 2, 2011

“Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus?” (Phil. 4:6-7)

I’m not planning on using this passage from Sunday’s second reading in my homily, but I have to admit that it spoke to me as I was going through the readings this week. It’s a passage that reveals the fruits of a deep faith. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta used to have a little card that she gave people she met. She called it her “business card.” I’ve reproduced one she gave to me after I worked in Calcutta one summer:

It’s nice having her autograph, but that’s not the point. The point is how she connects silence to prayer to faith to love to service to peace. We all want peace. Mother Teresa provided me the recipe.

This little card also characterized the life of Archbishop Philip M. Hannan. I am a little young to remember the “administrator” Hannan, but I spent a lot of time with him through my Dad, through representing him as a lawyer, and through his creating the Willwoods Community and founding WLAE. He was a major influence on my decision to become a diocesan priest. When I was representing him as a lawyer, I was asked by a friend how my law practice was going. I told him: “Well, I’ve got Archbishop Hannan as a client. Unless God calls me up, I don’t think I can go any higher.”

Then God called me up. But He did it through the example of many good priests and religious. Foremost among them was Archbishop Hannan. He didn’t “push” me toward the priesthood, he simply provided an example of a prayerful, faithful, service-oriented, loving and, above all, peaceful priest. And if there was one thing that I knew I wanted in my life, it was peace. Archbishop Hannan lived the recipe that Mother Teresa gave me on her business card. And whenever I sense any anxiety, I know it’s time to break out the recipe. Requiescat in pace, Philip M. Hannan. Pray for us!

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty