May 20, 2020
I am feeling a little old but very grateful this week. Thirty years ago, yesterday, I stood nervously with three classmates in St. Andrew’s Cathedral which was filled with clergy, family members, and friends. After a grand opening procession of the clergy with Bishop Robert Rose presiding, the four of us waited for those life-changing words “Let those to be ordained presbyters please come forward”. Then I heard “William Harold Duncan” to which I stood and responded, “Present”. The moment had come; after years of discernment, prayer, and formation, the Church had seen fit to call us to ordination. We each knelt before the bishop as he laid his hands on our heads and we stood once more but now as priests of Jesus Christ.
Since that day thirty years ago, I have had the privilege and challenge of rising each day to again say “present” to the Lord and His Church; to present myself as a servant of the Lord, a worker in the vineyard, a shepherd for the flock. Three decades is a good span of time- the world and the Church have changed since that day, and so have I. But the good news is that once we say yes to the Lord in whatever our vocation, He promises to provide the grace to fulfill it, no matter what challenges lie ahead.
Simply put, I cannot find words to thank God for the gift of my vocation as a priest. I cherish the invitation to witness to God’s love, mercy, and compassion. And, I am especially grateful to all of you who have been a part of this thirty-year journey. I can’t think of a better way to spend this anniversary than as pastor here at St. Sebastian’s. Thanks to all of you who sent such thoughtful cards and notes! Your love and support are true blessings to me.
Let us continue to pray for one another. Let us continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood. If you are discerning a vocation to the priesthood, do not be afraid to step forward and say “present”. I promise, you won’t regret it.
I miss you all and can’t wait to gather with you soon at the table of the Lord!
Ordination Day- May 19, 1990 Cathedral of St. Andrew