The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge officially opened the Diocesan phase for the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Thomas Frederick Price on March 9, 2012. The opening took place within the context of Solemn Vespers (Evening Prayer).
In attendance were Bishop Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, and Right Reverend Placid Solari, Abbot of Belmont. Also in attendance were Reverend Monsignor David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese; Reverend Edward M. Dougherty, Superior General of the Maryknoll Catholic Foreign Mission Society; Very Reverend James F. Garneau, V.F., Ph.D., Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Father Price; and Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, Postulator of the Cause of Father Price. Dr. Ambrosi was appointed to his position by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Following the opening of the Prayer Service, Reverend Monsignor Jerry M. Sherba, Chancellor of the Diocese, announced that Dr. Ambrosi, as Postulator, requested “to begin the trial of beatification and canonization to ascertain the holy life, the heroic virtues, the reputation of sanctity, and the miracles of the Servant of God, Father Thomas Frederick Price.”
The installation of the Tribunal, including the Historical Commission and Theological Commission then took place with the appointees taking an oath, beginning with Bishop Burbidge.
I, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, legally constituted in the trial of Beatification and Canonization on the life, virtues, and reputation of sanctity of the Servant of God, Father Thomas Frederick Price, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and carefully execute the duty committed to me and will keep secret all that I may learn during said trial. In fulfilling my duty, I will keep before my eyes only God and the good of the Church. May God help me and these Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand.”
The appointees to the Historical Commission are Reverend Monsignor Robert F. Trisco, D. Hist. Eccl.; Reverend Michael P. Walsh, M.M.; and Reverend Thomas A. Lynch, M.A., of the Archdiocese of New York. The appointees to the Theological Commission are Reverend Monsignor John J. Williams; Reverend Richard DeClue; and Dr. Paul J. Griffiths. Other members are Reverend Ja Van Saxon, Promoter of Justice; Angela Godwin Page, Actual Notary; Maureen Foster, Adjunct Notary; and Holly Brown, Copyist.
As part of the diocesan phase of the Cause, Bishop Burbidge has signed an Edict requesting that all those who can give valid testimony regarding the life, virtues and the reputation of the sanctity of Father Price, even if they have negative proof, are to contact the Tribunal. They may do so by contacting Father Garneau at The Office of the Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Father Price, P. O. Box 1145, Mount Olive, North Carolina 28365.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge addressed the testimonial portion of the trial. “We will discover that, like all of us, he had strengths and limitations, and he met successes and obstacles. Father Price loved the Lord our God and longed to spread His Truth throughout this State and even the world. Father Price,” Bishop Burbidge said, “tried to always remember that such a mission was dependent on the amazing grace of God and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. That belief is made clear in a retreat homily at which he said: ‘There is a danger if we depend on ourselves too much. That is a grave error. For in the end, God’s grace is everything, and only our conformity with His grace will render our deeds and ministry successful.’”
The Diocesan website features a special page for the Cause of Father Price with a direct link from the home page. Resources will be frequently added to the page. You are invited to visit it often to learn more about Father Price, now formally a Servant of God.
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Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge signing a document during the Diocesan opening of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Thomas Frederick Price. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Msgr. John Williams, Reverend Richard DeClue and Dr. Paul J. Griffiths, member of the Theological Commission, reciting their oaths. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Msgr. Jerry M. Sherba, Chancellor of the Diocese, signing documents in the presence of Reverend James F. Garneau, Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Father Price. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Bishop Peter J. Jugis, Diocese of Charlotte; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Raleigh; Reverend Edward M. Dougherty, Superior General of Maryknoll; and Right Reverend Placid Solari, Abbot of Belmont following the Prayer Service that opened the Cause for Father Price.