Msgr. Gerald L. Lewis, Administrator of St. Paul Catholic Church in New Bern, celebrated his 50th year of Priesthood with a Mass Wednesday, May 11, 2011, at the Church. Msgr. Lewis was joined by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, priests of the Diocese, family and friends.
“It was fifty years ago today that God called me to be priest through the imposition of hands by Bishop Vincent S. Waters,” Msgr. Lewis said in his homily. “It was a call to serve the people of God and His Church.”
Msgr. Lewis noted that when he was ordained, the Diocese covered the entire state. He remarked how his assignments brought him from the mountains to the sea coast, allowing him to be part of the lives of so many people over the years. “For all these years, for all these people, for the privilege of ordained ministry, I am grateful. Yes, grateful for those whom I have touched and for those who have touched me.”
Msgr. Lewis acknowledged the presence of two classmates in ministry: Msgr. John Wall and Father Donald Staib. “We have prayed and played and worked together for a total of a hundred and fifty years. They have been the best of companions, and I owe much to them.”
He also extended his gratitude to Bishop F. Joseph Gossman, whom he served as Chancellor and Vicar General of the Diocese, and to Bishop Burbidge, “who has shown trust in me and charged me with the ministry of St. Paul Parish. I thank God for these three shepherds of the Diocese,” Msgr. Lewis said.
In his remarks at the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Burbidge spoke of Msgr. Lewis’ profound history and love of the Diocese. “Today, we celebrate his yes; the yes he gave to the Lord 50 years ago, the yes he has renewed every day of his life. “
“There is something special about the ordination class of 50 years ago,” the Bishop said, “Msgr. Lewis, Msgr. Wall, Father Staib. All they want to do is to serve and thank God; there is no stopping them. We are grateful to our jubilarians.”
Above: Msgr. Lewis during celebration of Mass, joined by Msgr. David D. Brockman, Father Ernest Ruede, V.F., Father Vic Gournas, Father Donald Staib, and Msgr. John Wall.
Above: Msgr. John Wall (standing) and Father Donald Staib receiving applause following recognition by Msgr. Lewis as ordination classmates.
Above: Emily Ann Helton, Frances Lewis and Harold Lewis attending Anniversary Mass of Msgr. Lewis.
Above: Msgr. Lewis receiving a proclamation by Mayor Lee Wilson Bettis, Jr. of New Bern. Proclamation was read and presented by a member of the Knights of Columbus on behalf of the Mayor.