(Haverstraw, N.Y. – March 24) – By rule (Reg. 42), every SDB province around the world is to celebrate a “feast day of the province” every year—a day of fraternity, solidarity, appreciation, and gratitude. Our province did so on Saturday, March 23, at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw-Stony Point, N.Y.
The festivities included Mass, at which Fr. Tim Zak, provincial, presided and preached; a catered buffet dinner in Fr. Tae-Seok Lee Hall at the Shrine; a little bit of entertainment supplied by several confreres; and three speeches of appreciation for the just-completed provincial chapter, for the service and leadership of Fr. Tim, and from Fr. Tim for the divine blessings our province continues to enjoy.
Some 78 professed SDBs took part in the Eucharistic celebration, along with the province’s 2 prenovices and 2 candidates, and 1 Cooperator. One of the concelebrants was Fr. Tim Ploch, regional councilor, who is in the middle of an extraordinary visitation of the province in the name of the Rector Major.
Fr. Zak’s homily was based on the gospel of the day, the parable of the lost son or the prodigal father. After summarizing the implications of the actions and attitudes in the story, he underscored that the parable is about our precious relationship with God our Father. Our vocation is to witness to that precious relationship and not just to carry out a task or an action plan.
Continuing, Fr. Zak noted that like the younger son in the parable we’re called to conversion, to a radical change that affects our interior attitudes. The provincial chapter just completed is supposed to be a step in that direction.
Our relationship with our Father is based on his mercy. Our ongoing conversion begins with that premise, Fr. Zak said. Our Salesian vocation is an experience of the Father’s overwhelming love for us, like the father’s for his wayward son in the parable. “Who wouldn’t celebrate that?” Fr. Zak asked. He concluded: “We are sent to share this Good News with the young.”