This weekend, you'll have the opportunity to support Clergy Trust's mission by giving to the special collection at Masses. It's a way to acknowledge all the priests have given to us and to show them how much they've meant to all of us along our journeys.
At so many pivotal points in our lives, priests have played an integral role and contributed to the deepening of our faith. When my wife, Mary, was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, she looked to Father Peter Casey, the pastor at our parish of St. Agatha in Milton at the time. She was uncertain about the proposed surgery; he counseled her and helped her put things in perspective and develop a more focused attitude to decide on a treatment plan that felt right. Father Casey, along with Father John Carmichael of St. Ann by the Sea in Marshfield, anointed Mary as well during this time. We recently went for her final check-up with her surgeon, and he told her it was a miracle she was alive. Everything worked the way it was supposed to by God, and with prayer, and for that we are so very thankful.
Another example of priests touching our lives dates back 30 years ago. I had been a principal at an architectural firm when the economy died in 1989. I went on and off unemployment. Mary and I had three kids and were trying to make ends meet. It was not an easy time. Finally, I struck out on my own in 1992. I would often go to the 7 a.m. Mass at St. Agatha and the priests and Sisters of Charity would notice me. When they saw me at the 9 a.m., they were surprised and asked me why I was there. I told them I didn't have any work that day. They said they always prayed but would pray extra hard for me. After Mass, I came home and the phone rang; it was a job opportunity from a new client. I felt so blessed.
Through our darkest times, our priests have been unwavering in their support, helping us grow in our faith that was instilled in us both at an early age. They've also been there to celebrate the good times, including baptisms and weddings. Over the years, we've had the privilege to develop personal relationships that have flourished into tremendous friendships with these holy men.
Mary and I are incredibly grateful to co-chair this year's annual September fundraising effort, which along with the special collection, supports Clergy Trust in providing programs and resources to care for the health and well-being of these men who have dedicated their lives to God and to us. These resources include the Regina Cleri residence for senior priests in Boston.
I had the enormous opportunity to serve as the architect for the recent extensive interior and exterior restoration of Regina Cleri, including the major renovation to the chapel and designs to add more rooms for priests. This was a job that allowed me to become intimately acquainted with the residence. I would get there early enough so that I could go to Mass with more than 30 priests concelebrating. It just felt like pure holiness. It was such a blessing to have a part in that project, and I saw firsthand how Clergy Trust can be transformational.
This weekend, you'll have the opportunity to support Clergy Trust's mission by giving to the special collection at Masses. It's a way to acknowledge all the priests have given to us and to show them how much they've meant to all of us along our journeys. It's a small gesture that, in the end, will make a difference to their health and well-being. If you have been as touched by them as Mary and I have, we hope you'll consider a gift -- and we hope that they'll feel the love.
STEPHEN AND MARY WESSLING ARE CO-CHAIRS OF GIVE THANKS FOR PRIESTS 2022.