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I’m leaving the Newman Center, with regret and much gratitude

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I wanted to write something about events at the Aquinas Newman Center before I headed to points east in July, ending over 60 years of Dominican presence at the Newman Center at the University of New Mexico.

I realize that I represent my Dominican brothers, over all those years, who served the people of this diocese. As such, I wanted to thank these people for the privilege of worshiping with them and offering our mutual faith to the thousands of students and faculty at UNM.

I and the Dominican Order will remember fondly the important work done here in Albuquerque to intellectually challenge men and women of faith to embrace our lord and his mandate to preach the truth.

That truth has not been easy to preach. It never will be. It requires the courage to distinguish between the mores of this world and the message of Jesus, and then to carry out that message no matter what may stand in its way.

It requires patience, understanding, fortitude and understanding, piety and fear of the lord. All, gifts from the Holy Spirit given to each of us in our Sacraments of Initiation, to be used to further the Gospel.

Have we succeeded in furthering the Gospel? We have been told that we are not to see the results of our efforts; that ours is to sow the seeds. The process of sowing those seeds has been such joy and I have no regrets for the difficulties that sowing may have caused me. Indeed, the difficulty pales in comparison to the price Jesus paid, if I may be so bold as to suggest such a thing.

Do I regret the present turn of events? Yes! I would have much preferred an opportunity to collaborate with the diocese in such a way that the Dominicans could stay and continue to minister at UNM.

But, for reasons beyond me, that is not going to be the case. My prayer is that the real felt needs of the parish community at Newman will be addressed. My hope is that I and my brothers have addressed those needs over our long time here. My belief is that Jesus will not abandon any of us.

I am excited about our new pope. I think our church is moving in the direction set out by Vatican II. I suggest that all of us pay close attention to what Jesus says in the Gospels.

Only Jesus and his way will take us to God. We might be tempted to know the way, and insist that our way be taken, but only Jesus and his way will take us to God.

Pray for me and my Dominican family. Thanks to all who are part of that family. Remember that our Father Dominic encouraged us to praise God, bless our brothers and sisters, and preach the truth.

What a privilege that has been, and is and will be.

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