On Monday, December 6th, five priests who have served or are serving in the Diocese of Raleigh celebrated 25th anniversaries of Ordination. The jubilarians are Monsignor Matthew Hendrick, retired; Monsignor Philip Leach, retired (unable to attend); Father Thomas Tully, Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Hillsborough; Father Fernando Torres, Pastor of St. Bernadette Church in Fuquay-Varina; and Father Martin Restrepo, Parochial Vicar of Maria, Reina de las Americas Parish in Mt. Olive.
A bilingual Mass of thanksgiving was offered at Saint Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill. Father Tully was the principal celebrant and delivered the homily in English and Spanish; Msgr. Hendrick, Father Torres and Father Restrepo were principal concelebrants. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presided, and numerous priests of the Diocese were in attendance.
In his homily, Father Tully noted that the five jubilarians represented 125 years and some 46,000 days of priestly service. That service would not be possible, he said, without “the support of the people of God, the grace of the sacraments and the urgency of the call from the Holy Spirit.”
“It is always with a deep sense of gratitude and humility that any of us can talk about the Priesthood,” he said. “Because of Jesus, our imperfections can be brought to perfection. Through our dependent obedience to God we can become agents of the possible, the graceful and the holy.”
In brief remarks at the end of Mass, Bishop Burbidge spoke of the gratitude of the Diocese and its people for the priestly service of the five men. “We thank you,” he said, “and pray that Our Lord Jesus will continue to bless you and help you to be dedicated and holy priests.”
A reception in St. Thomas More’s newly constructed Friends and Family Hall followed the Mass.
Above: Jubilarians (left to right) Fr. Martin Restrepo, Fr. Fernando Torres, Fr. Thomas Tully and Msgr. Matthew Hendrick.
Above: Bishop Burbidge and numerous priests of the Diocese attended the jubilee celebration.
Above: Four of the jubilarians with Bishop Burbidge.