As I look ahead to my coming studies in Rome, I realize that I will have to step aside for some years, which was the topic of my recent column for The Wheat Field:
Before reciting the Regina Caeli in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost with representatives from various movements within the Church, Pope Francis said to them, “I would like to thank all the Movements, Associations, Communities and Ecclesial groups. You are a gift and a treasure for the Church! This is what you are!”As I look ahead to July 1st when I will conclude my present assignment as Priest Secretary and Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop and Associate Director of the Office for Vocations (I managed to fit all of that on a business card) to begin graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, I wish to make Pope Francis’ words my own and to say to you, the members the spiritual movement of Great River Teens Encounter Christ, “You are a gift and a treasure for the Church! This is what you are!” Not only that; you are a gift and a treasure for me!Beginning with my first TEC in 1996 – TEC 162 – I have been on a dozen TECs and several Mini-TECs and Quests and each of them, varied as they were, served to draw me closer to Jesus Christ and deeper into the communion of his Church. It was, I daresay, on my first TEC weekend that my call to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ was confirmed for me through a profound experience during the Stations of the Cross and the singing of “Watch the Lamb.” So it is that Great River TEC has always held a dear and special place in my heart.As I look now to the adventure that lies before me over the next three years in the Eternal City, I wish to offer the Holy Mass in Thanksgiving for Great River Teens Encounter Christ with as many of you as possible. To this end, I will celebrate the Mass in the retreat center chapel on Tuesday, July 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Following the Mass, a recruitment party will be held to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit in inviting others to encounter Christ through the TEC movement.When he spoke to the various religious movements, the Holy Father went on to say, “Always bring with you the power of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always have joy and passion for communion in the Church!” The power of the Gospel is found in the communion of the Church, in the unity granted to the faithful in the Most Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Unity, in which the Lord Jesus keeps his promise to be with us always (cf. Matthew 28:20).As I humbly submit my resignation as Spiritual Director of Great River Teens Encounter Christ, effective July 1, 2013, I urge you to remember that everything we do as a spiritual movement within Church should lead each of us - candidates, Wheaties, and adult team - to a greater love and devotion to the Eucharist, to Jesus Christ present among us in a real and substantial way. I thank you for your many prayers and encouragements over the years and ask your continued prayers for me. Please know that I will remember you often, and future TEC weekends, at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul!