Greetings from LaGuardia’s amazing new Terminal B. 

It’s a gorgeous September morning in New York City.

I’m headed to the Diocese of El Paso to lead a retreat for deacons and their wives at “An Oasis in the Desert,” the Holy Cross Retreat Center in nearby Mesilla Park, NM.  The theme: “We Become What We Receive: Deacons, the Eucharist and our Ministry to the World.”

I can’t help but remember that I’m traveling on the feast of St. Jerome. On this day 20 years ago, I officially began my journey in the diaconate, joining nearly 100 other men and their wives at St. James Cathedral for Evening Prayer with Bishop Thomas Daily. He presented each of us with a paperback New American Bible — a well-thumbed resource I still use.

And there’s this: In his youth, my father was a Christian Brother, and was given the name of “Brother Jerome” — a fact I didn’t discover until long after he had died, and my aunt gave me the pocket watch he carried, engraved “Br. J.”

On May 19, 2007, I tucked my father’s watch into my shirt pocket to bring with me to my ordination. I lay prostrate on the floor of a great basilica for my ordination, while the Litany of Saints was chanted over me. I heard St. Gregory. And St. Jerome. And I closed my eyes against gathering tears, remembering my father’s pocket watch, which at that moment was resting against my heart, pressed against the stone floor.

Happy Feast Day, Jerome. Happy Feast Day, Dad.

Almighty, ever-living God, you endowed Saint Jerome with a
deep reverence for Holy Scripture, which he loved with all his heart.

Sustain us ever more with your word and help us to find in it the source of life.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.