November 26, 2017

Friends,

I have my annual class reunion from St. John Seminary coming up on December 5 at St. Brigid rectory in Lexington. One of my classmates is the pastor there and he has been hosting it the past few years. We are one of the few classes that gather every year. We invite only those who were ordained with us. I remember organizing our 15th Reunion years ago and we invited all those men who were ever in our class and had left either during the seminary years or after their ordination. At that reunion we encouraged those who had left to bring their spouses or a companion with them. We had the event at Heritage Hall in Milton. That was a major undertaking. The other priest who organized that celebration with me (Ed O’Brien) died a few years later. I believe that during our 8 years of formation, we had close to 75 actual classmates come and go. Of that number there were 23 ordained for Boston (that number is contested every year at the reunion). There are still 15 members of the class who are still active priests in the Archdiocese of Boston. The only time I see the great majority of them is at the annual reunion. I may see a few at our annual convocation with Cardinal O’Malley in May, and there may be 1 or 2 with whom I socialize occasionally. Most of these men are in parishes as I am, while a couple may have other positions in the Archdiocese. We make it a point to remember our deceased classmates and those who are struggling with many of the issues that we all face.

We begin socializing with appetizers and drinks as we all arrive and get reacquainted. We then sit down for a wonderful meal that is prepared at a local supermarket and continue on to conversation and storytelling. We all have our tales about our seminary days and the early years of our priesthood. Most of these stories get more embellished as the years go on. We have a lot of laughs thinking back to the “good old days.” We then proceed to another room and talk about what is going on in our lives today. The atmosphere changes and we get a lot more honest about our present situation in life and in the priesthood. 

Obviously, we are all believers and our beliefs have played a major role in our relationship with the Church. Priests in our age range tend to be more progressive in our theology than younger priests. Many of you find that hard to believe, but I’ve done my research. 

My classmates are good men and spending an evening together convinces me how good they are. 

As I write these words, I’m getting nostalgic and thinking it might be a time to run another all-inclusive reunion for as many of the original 73 that I can contact (one of them lives in our collaborative). Imagine those stories! Stay tuned!

Enjoy life!
Fr. Coyne

 

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