Msgr. John Wall, Pastor of the University of North Carolina Newman Center Parish, celebrated his 50th year of Priesthood with a Mass Friday evening, December 10th, at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. Msgr. Wall was joined by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, priests of the Diocese, family and friends.
“For me, a Catholic Priest celebrating 50 years of Priesthood,” Msgr. Wall said at the beginning of his homily, “it can’t get any better than this.” He talked about growing up in North Carolina when the Catholic population was few in number. He began thinking of the Priesthood when enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, writing to then Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Vincent S. Waters. He said when he received a return letter, he hid it under his mattress, not wanting others to know what he was contemplating.
Msgr. Wall noted that through the years, his desire was always to serve in North Carolina, and he got his wish. In his 50 years, he has served as pastor of numerous parishes, served in Diocesan offices as well as campus minister of four universities: Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina State and now UNC-Chapel Hill.
Referring to one of the Gospel readings of the Mass, Msgr. Wall said, “I know that the way the laity received me has brought joy in my life.” He concluded, “It’s all about doing what God asks. I’m glad He asked me, through the Church 50 years ago, to become a priest and for your acceptance of me in that vocation.”
In his remarks at the end of Mass, Bishop Burbidge noted that the two most important qualities in a priest are holiness and joy. “Knowing that,” the Bishop said, “it’s no surprise that so many are here tonight to express gratitude for the Priesthood of Monsignor Wall.”
Above: Msgr. John Wall celebrating his 50th anniversary Mass of Priesthood at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, where he is Pastor Emeritus. Concelebrating are Msgr. Tim O’Connor, Pastor of St. Michael; Msgr. Gerald Lewis, Administrator of St. Paul Church in New Bern; Father Donald Staib, Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Apex; and Msgr David Brockman (far right), Vicar General of the Diocese.
Below: Priests of the Diocese of Raleigh attending Msgr. Wall’s Golden Jubilee Mass.