He Shows Me How to Be a Father

He Shows Me How to Be a Father

Tonight, we gather together, priests and people from around our diocese, for the celebration of the Chrism Mass. This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop. My thoughts today go to my father, Bishop Morlino.

A few days ago, on the Feast of St. Joseph, I had the great pleasure of attending a special banquet in honor of Bishop Morlino. I told people that my eyes welled-up throughout the evening, as we had the opportunity to reflect on the “fatherhood” of St. Joseph, as it related to Bishop Morlino’s fatherhood for all of us.

It’s true! I know that I can say, personally, that whenever I encountered challenges in decisions I have made as a pastor, he was always right there to encourage me. Whenever I confronted opposition, he was always right there to support me. And, I have watched him show me how, in making these decisions and facing this opposition, it is part of being a strong father to those in his charge.

Bishop Morlino wants nothing less than the “best” for those in his charge. Better yet, he knows what is best for those in his charge. While some may believe the best might be “following the crowd … going along to get along,” or “give away a part of who we are, in order to better fit in,” Bishop Morlino knows that true joy, true happiness, true fulfillment in life only comes when we are totally dedicated to who we are as children of God (and, in my case, a priest for God), even when following that path can be difficult.

While I can recount story after story of how Bishop Morlino has fathered me, I will always remember what he did for the priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest in Platteville, WI. These beautifully orthodox priests faced such a level of opposition that it garnered national attention, much as what is occurring in San Francisco today. What was this father’s (Bishop Morlino) response? He stood 100% behind his priests, and wrote a letter to the parishioners. Here is a quote from that letter:

It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.

You can read the entire letter here.

But here is what many do not know about Bishop Morlino. He has taken this group of orthodox priests under his wing, as they continue to face fierce opposition, and gathers with them regularly … usually just for some social time with them … always to show them he is their father, and he has their back.

These are very difficult times we are all facing in 2015. But, as you gather with your priests during this Holy Week, please understand just how difficult it is for them, as they are at the epicenter of the firestorm of controversy in this anti-authority, morally challenged age in which we live.

You can see Michael Voris’ beautiful take on Bishop Morlino in the video below.