Rev. Msgr. Thomas P. Hadden celebrated his Fiftieth Anniversary of Priesthood with a Jubilee Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday, December 20. Msgr. Hadden was ordained in Rome in 1958 as a Priest of the Diocese of Raleigh upon his graduation from the North American College in Rome.
Approximately thirty priests concelebrated the liturgy in the presence of Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge. Rev. Msgr. Gerald L. Lewis was the homilist.
In his homily, Msgr. Lewis spoke of how Mary accepted the announcement that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Savior. He said, “As we look forward to the greatest gift God can give us, we look back to another call more than 50 years ago.” Msgr. Lewis spoke of the influence the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters and Dominican priests at Saint Monica’s Parish in Raleigh had on young Thomas Paul and the call he accepted to serve God.
Msgr. Lewis spoke of the challenges Msgr. Hadden faced as a seminarian, having to enroll at a preparatory seminary in Mississippi to study for the Priesthood and how he was invited to become a seminarian of his home Diocese by Bishop Vincent S. Waters, the Third Bishop of Raleigh.
Msgr. Lewis also spoke of a similar challenge Msgr. Hadden faced when he “became the first African American Pastor of an historic and predominately white parish in the south,” St. Paul Church in New Bern. He spoke of the “slights” Msgr. Hadden endured from the people in the community as well as in the parish. “Father Hadden continued his daily pastoring and because of his goodness he became accepted and loved,” Msgr. Lewis said. “Many who had vocally rejected him at his appointment became his ardent supporters and wept when eventually his transfer came.”
In his remarks, Bishop Burbidge expressed gratitude to Bishop Waters for inviting Thomas Paul Hadden to serve as a priest in the Diocese, noting, “What a great gift the Bishop gave to us.”
“One of the greatest characteristics of Msgr. Hadden’s Priesthood,” Bishop Burbidge said, “is that of being a Priest who in word and deed, throughout the years, especially in times when great courage and perseverance were necessary, Msgr. proclaimed that no matter what our race, gender or background, we are one body, united as brothers and sisters in Christ, that can never be separated or divided.”
In closing, Bishop Burbidge acknowledged the presence of Rev. Msgr. Francis Moeslein who will celebrated his fiftieth anniversary as a Priest on January 24 with a Jubilee Mass at St. Egbert’s Church in Morehead City, where he serves as Pastor Emeritus.