A great privilege from every point of view

A few weeks ago I was a guest on the Good Catholic Life radio program. Co-host Father Mark O'Connell, who is a colleague and a friend, noted that I most often describe the ministry of vicar general as being a privilege. Father O'Connell is correct. I consider the ministry of vicar general to be a great privilege. As I prepare to conclude my five years of service as vicar general, I would like to share with you some reflections on this privilege as an indication of my gratitude to Our Lord, to the Church and to you.

When I was ordained 26 years ago, I imagined my life would be in service to the Archdiocese of Boston as a parish priest. God and the Church had other plans. Much of my priestly service has been in specialized ministry: teaching at St. John's Seminary and serving in the military and as vicar general. My love for Christ and the Church has only grown over the past quarter of a century. I consider it a great privilege to have served in a leadership position carrying on the saving ministry of Jesus Christ in the archdiocese. I can think of no greater privilege than to be a Christian, Catholic and priest. To share my love for Christ and the Church as a leader in this community has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Getting to know Cardinal Seán and to serve with him and for him has also been a privilege. In 2006, when Cardinal Seán asked me to serve as vicar general, I did not know him at all. At the time, we had only spent a little more than an hour together in our life time. Now I know Cardinal Seán very well. The mark of a bishop has to be holiness of life and a heart for Christ, the Church and God's people. Cardinal Seán is a man who strives for holiness and who loves Christ and his Church. When the Holy Father asked Cardinal Seán to become our bishop, the primary reason he did so was so Cardinal Seán could bring the Lord's healing to a diocese that had been devastated by the sexual abuse of children by priests. Cardinal Seán is the right man for our archdiocese. He is an instrument of Christ's healing. It has been a great privilege to serve as Cardinal Seán's vicar and to assist him with the greatest challenge and call in the history of the archdiocese.

Serving alongside my wonderful colleagues in Central Ministries has been a great privilege. Since my mother served in the finance office of the Chancery from 1987-1997, I arrived in 2006 with much knowledge of the hard work and sacrifice our colleagues make on a daily basis to continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ. That knowledge has been transformed into an abiding respect and a deep love. My colleagues have become my friends and are like family to me. They remain a great inspiration of self-sacrifice, resilience and sheer hard work.

Serving with the outstanding priests, deacons, religious and laity of our archdiocese has been a highlight of these five years. I was away from the archdiocese on military duty for seven years prior to becoming vicar general. Throughout the archdiocese, people have been gracious and generous in first welcoming me home and then in encouraging me as vicar general. I also appreciate the challenges that have come my way. Many people have been free to express to me their concerns, hurts, disappointments and criticisms. To receive these challenges is itself a privilege because it reflects the passion and concern of those who have come to me and of their hope that I would both respect their concerns and do something to try and help them.

Another privilege of being vicar general is to be the recipient of the gift of prayer from so many people. There are people who I do not even know who have been praying for me every day since June 2006. I am especially grateful for, and humbled by, the prayers I have received from my family and friends, from the wonderful community who gathers each day for daily Mass at the Pastoral Center and from the staff and parishioners of my home for the past five years: Holy Name Parish, West Roxbury.

To paraphrase Romans 3:2, the privilege of serving as vicar general and moderator of the curia is great from every point of view. As an archdiocese we now welcome Msgr. Robert Deeley as our next vicar general. He begins his service on Sept. 1. I am certain the archdiocese is in good hands as Msgr. Deeley has a wealth of knowledge and experience which will serve us well, but above all he has a great love for Christ and the Church. I am looking forward to a course of study in the fall at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the North American College in Vatican City. In 2012, I look forward to returning home to Boston and serving in whatever capacity Christ, the Church and Cardinal Seán wish me to serve.

As I conclude my service as vicar general I do so with gratitude to God and to you. In the words of St. Paul, "I give thanks to my God every time I think of you...at the way you have continually helped promote the Gospel from the very first day. I am sure of this much: that he who has begun the good work in you will carry it through to completion, right up to the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:3-6)." Thank you for the privilege of serving as your vicar general.

Father Erikson is vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...