The Catholic Courier of Rochester is running a series of stories on the new bishop of my home diocese, His Excellency Salvatore Matano, including a piece on local reactions. One priest interviewed is impressed by his knowledge of local history, especially a little known story about two Eucharistic martyrs:

Father Palumbos said he also was impressed that Bishop Matano had done his homework on diocesan history. In his welcoming remarks, Bishop Matano spoke of the deep commitment to the real presence in the Eucharist that Father George J. Weinmann and Sister Lillian Marie McLaughlin, SSND, displayed when they plunged into the burning St. Philip Neri Church in February 1967 to rescue the Blessed Sacrament from the flames. Sister McLaughlin was killed in the fire and Father Weinmann died from injuries several days later. Parts of the tabernacle from St. Philip Neri Church make up the tabernacle installed at Sacred Heart Cathedral as part of its renovation nearly a decade ago.

As I shared on my previous site, St. Philip Neri was the parish of my mother’s family, and my maternal grandmother used to do “tatting,” a form of embroidery, for the altar linens.

David Fiorito of Becket Hall, a “prep school” for discerning seminarians, is quoted about Bishop Matano’s welcome focus on developing the holiness of the people. Which is exactly right. The role of the priest and bishop is to sanctify the people so they can bring Jesus to the world. That’s the outward-directed vocation of the laity — to engage in the apostolate! In all too many places, and especially in Rochester, the laity are under the impression that their role is to “co-minister” with the priest in the sanctuary.

So it would seem that out of the gate Bishop Matano will focus on (1) the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the (2) sanctification and holiness of his flock. He couldn’t pick two better priorities.

And I’m glad I hadn’t just sipped a drink before I read Cardinal Dolan’s remarks.

P.S. Per Bishop Matano’s comment about needing a haircut before his press conference, someone should recommend a local barber to His Excellency. I nominate Battisti’s on Rochester’s West side.

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