Last weekend, the parish celebrated two Jubilee Masses in honor of the 50th anniversary of the priesthood of the Rev. Francis Privé. At the 10:30 Mass, which I attended, the church was packed. Hundreds of people crowded the pews, and extra chairs had to be brought in. For some latecomers, it was standing room only.
The Knights of Columbus appeared in full regalia, and Fr. Jay Haskin joined Fr. Privé and Deacons Tom Cooney and Roger Currier for the Mass.
The Gospel reading was Luke 9:11b–17, about how Jesus miraculously multiplied a few fishes and loaves so they would feed a crowd of 5,000. Fr. Privé compared this to God’s love for us, which, if we let it grow in our hearts and spread it among our fellow men, will multiply too and never run out. He also reminisced about the many stations of his priesthood in Vermont and called his Morrisville appointment “the greatest gift in my career.” When he talked about how much his parishioners meant to him, his voice broke and he couldn’t continue. After a moment of silence, the whole church started applauding, which ended in a standing ovation for the beloved priest.
Next, parishioner Jacqueline Bartlett sang a beautiful solo of the “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck. Chair of the Parish Council Richard Brodeur conveyed a warm message from Bishop Christopher Coyne, who unfortunately couldn’t be there, and handed Fr. Privé a framed, personalized apostolic blessing from Pope Francis himself.
The Mass was followed by an equally crowded three-hour farewell reception for the retiring parish priest at the Crosby Center.
On July 1, Fr. John Schnobrich and his assistant, Fr. Joseph Ikegbunam, will take over the office of parish priest, taking turns in celebrating the Mass each weekend.
Mass schedule June 28 to July 4: Friday 9 a.m.; Saturday 4 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.; Monday 8:30 a.m. (Communion Service); Tuesday 9 a.m.; Wednesday and Thursday no Mass. More information at mostholynamevt.org, 802-888-3318 (parish office, Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.), firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Shannara Johnson