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From the Desk of Father John Nickolai

As noted elsewhere in this bulletin, and announced at the weekend Masses, I will be attending Priests’ Study Week this week. There will be no weekday Masses, but there will be Communion services. I know this is something of an inconvenience, but I hope everyone will understand.

The study week is one of the fruits of our last Convocation, in 2018. We realized, first, that there is a need for the priests to be able to see each other and spend time together, especially when so many of us live by ourselves. Secondly, we recognized our need to continue to grow and learn. No one is a finished product on ordination day.

People in many fields have to do the same thing — renewing licenses or accreditations, staying current on developments in the field, exchanging ideas with peers and colleagues. We don’t want to stagnate.

This study week, like the one last year at the same time, will be focused on preaching the Gospel of the upcoming year in the lectionary cycle. We’re in Year A now, which means using Matthew’s Gospel, but in Advent the new liturgical year will begin, and we will move to Year B, which means reading mostly from Mark.

I hope everyone will see the value in this. It seems as if, almost every time the Magisterium has addressed anything to priests in the last thirty or forty years, preaching has been mentioned as an area for improvement. A line from Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium comes to mind, where he said: “both the faithful and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them, and the clergy from having to preach them!” Think of our study week as an effort to make things a little less painful for everybody.


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