There were many thoughts racing through my mind on that day, as I prostrated myself on the floor before the altar. The choir was singing the Litany of the Saints, and I knew that in a few minutes Bishop Angell would impose hands in silence, and that from that moment on I would be a priest forever.
So many people who were there on that day, have now passed. I am no longer the skinny young priest with lots of hair; it was the seventies. Msgr. Iacovacci was there to impose hands along with the other priests, and after an hour and ten minutes I was giving my first priestly blessing to Bishop Angell and my parents.
The past thirty-nine years are filled with the memories of so many people, so many sacramental moments, so many tears and joys, and even tragedies. The gift of priesthood, and the grace of God, has allowed an ordinary person like myself to be present to others, and to make Christ present in their lives. The priesthood exists to make Christ present in the Holy Eucharist at every Mass, and in all the Sacraments.
These past sixteen years have been for me a time of growth and challenge, and a time to grow in my understanding of what priesthood is all about. I could never have imagined this on the day of my ordination. The gift of priesthood is God’s gift to the church, and the church is God’s gift to the priesthood. We are bound together by the mystery of God’s love.
I express my profound gratitude for the gift you have been to me, through your living of the Gospel, your prayers, and your support. I ask your forgiveness for the times that I did live up to your expectations.
Please pray for me and for all priests, and for an increase of vocations to the priesthood. For my part I will remember you in all my prayers and Masses, and ask God for the grace and good health to continue serving you as pastor of this great parish and school family for as long as God permits.
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Rev. Roger C. Gagné