Momentous Milestones: Bishop Olson and priests gather to celebrate ordination jubilees
FORT WORTH- On Nov. 29, Bishop Michael Olson and the priests of the Diocese of Fort Worth gathered to recognize priests who celebrated milestone anniversaries in 2023.
The event expressed gratitude for priestly vocations and affirmed the collegiality between brother priests. Bishop Olson reminded all the priests, “Your people love you very much. They’re very faithful and protective of you, and they appreciate all of the good work that you do on their behalf. And so do I.”
A few of the honored priests took a moment to share some thoughts with the NTC:
Monsignor Publius Xuereb of Holy Redeemer Parish, Aledo
You go to St. Michael, you can overcome anything. He defends us in the battle — any type of battle.
On priestly support:
The best way to support the priest or the Catholic Church is through prayer. Parishioners may see their priest on Sunday; they may or may not talk to him, but prayer is the most important thing.
Father Philip Brembah of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Arlington
On the Diocese of Fort Worth:
It reminds me of the universality of the Church; the Church is a missionary Church. It reminds me that people everywhere, irrespective of background and culture, are humans, the same people trying to do the best that we can to serve our God and to serve humanity.
On the sacraments:
All the sacraments are very important to me. For instance, baptism gives me the opportunity to be part of the beginning of the journey of faith. The sacraments also give you the opportunity to be with the person, even to the point of death because you performed the sacrament of anointing — a time that you are invited to be with a family, with an individual who has been baptized into the faith. That, for me, is a privilege.
Being able to be part of a sacred moment of a person’s life, leading that person from baptism to the point we depart from this earth to our creator is very, very important to me. Besides that, the Eucharist, which is the center of our lives, is also very dear to my heart.
Father Hoa Nguyen of Holy Family Parish, Fort Worth
I think my best habit is praying, constantly praying. I also like to play golf with fellow priests or parishioners, so we have a connection with each other.
It’s a wonderful privilege for us to share with the people the good times, the bad times; in the moment they’re in the hospital, in the moment they lost a loved one; the moment of the birth of their child, the moment of the wedding. It’s the greatest privilege to share the intimate moments of their life, their family ups and downs, and walk with them, cry with them, laugh with them, and share joy.
Father Reehan Antony, SAC, of St. Ann Parish, Burleson
Saying a daily Rosary to the Blessed Mother, reading the Scriptures, and the celebration of the Eucharist — these are the things that keep me going in my priestly ministry.
On the blessings of priesthood:
People accept you as their own. Even from the little ones to the eldest ones — they recognize you as their pastor, as their own, and it gives a lot of joy and contentment in my ministry.
Father Gerard Quirke, FSS, of St. Benedict Parish, Fort Worth
On the Mass:
It’s the source and the summit of our faith and it’s the complete nourishment for all that we do. All comes from and centers in that. For me, that’s primary.
What brings me joy is tapping into the service of the priest, being there for people — particularly through the sacraments — and providing for them spiritually.