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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“The Jesuits have spoiled the work of Christian antiquity, under pretext of restoring the hymns in accordance with the laws of metre and elegant language.”
— M. Ulysse Chevalier (1891)

Gratitude for Gifts
published 28 July 2012 by Fr. David Friel

This week brings two anniversaries for me. The first and more profound was yesterday, July 25th, which marked ten years since the death of one of my priest heroes.

Father John J. Davids served for 18 years as a curate in my home parish in Doylestown, PA. He had a deep impact on my childhood and adolescence. He possessed more than his share of virtues; he was indefatigably committed to the poor, a friend to the depressed and addicted, a jokester amongst his friends and coworkers, and a man of serious prayer and genuine love. I daresay that, without his example of happiness, humility, and holiness, I would never have had the courage (or perhaps even the inclination) to pursue the priesthood.

I had the opportunity to celebrate Mass with his chalice last month when I visited my home parish for the wedding of a childhood friend. It was an honor to use as a priest that particular chalice, which I brought to the altar so many times as an altar boy. I also offered the holy sacrifice for his soul yesterday, to commemorate the anniversary of his death. Both Masses were powerful moments for me.

The second anniversary I’m observing this week is also significant, albeit somewhat less heartfelt. One year ago today, I began blogging here on the Corpus Christi Watershed. It was the original idea and invitation of Jeffrey Ostrowski that brought this about, and I am very grateful for the ongoing opportunity to share my faith with any readers who travel this way.

In our initial conversations, Jeffrey expressed his desire to have a newly-ordained priest share his practical experiences of ministry. He wanted a youthful priest to make observations of his daily life and offer reflections upon the experiences of priesthood-in-action. I have tried to capture some of the highlights moments of my first year of priesthood, as well as some of the more mundane aspects. I hope I have not disappointed his expectations. This has been a blessed year―one filled with joys and struggles, beautiful moments and much variety. I can confidently say that I love the priesthood more now than I did the day of my ordination.

Were it not for the witness of Father John Davids, I may never have known the joy of priesthood; were it not for the opportunity to contribute this blog, I would have one less avenue to share that joy. So, for both these gifts, I am deeply grateful.