BRIGHTON -- Msgr. Paul Moritz and Father James Ronan received large wooden crucifixes in honor of their years of priestly service April 3 during a luncheon at St. John’s Seminary.
As is the tradition in Boston, two priests, selected by their peers, are honored at the luncheon following the chrism Mass. Priests and deacons also fill vessels with the consecrated oils for use in their parishes at the seminary after the Mass.
Msgr. Paul Moritz, a retired priest in residence at Regina Cleri, was ordained in 1941. He has been a priest for nearly 66 of his 96 years.
“I really enjoyed my priesthood to the utmost,” he said, addressing the others gathered. “My priesthood has been my great gift from God.”
Msgr. Moritz was born in Dorchester and after ordination served in Brighton, Waltham, West Lynn, Canton, Cambridge and Cathedral High School in Boston. He also served for many years at St. Ann Parish in Peabody. He was set to retire for the first time in 1986 but continued to serve the archdiocese for two more decades. During that time he was stationed at several parishes and served as the vicar of Brockton and interim regional vicar for the Merrimack Region. He continues to celebrate Mass at area parishes.
Msgr. Moritz said he was glad to have the opportunity to touch the lives of people in a pastoral way. Priests will never know how many people they help through their encouragement and example, he said.
“As long as you’re giving yourself in God’s name, it’s positive,” he said. “I wouldn’t change my 65 years for any other vocation.”
Father William Kelly, director of the archdiocese’s Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation, said “This is a man who was shaped by his priesthood.”
Father Kelly also presented a crucifix to Father James Ronan, pastor at St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Charlestown.