Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Sep
  • 4

Father Roy wants local Fraternity of Priests

Posted By September 4, 2014 | 12:39 pm | Featured Article #3
RoyTONEWEB

By Tanya Connor

“This is my body, given for you.”
“In to me see.”
Using these phrases, a local priest encouraged about 30 of his peers from around the world to put relationship before ministry.
Father Michael J. Roy said that this year he gave one of the major talks and celebrated the closing Mass at the Fraternity of Priests annual international conference. It was held July 28 – Aug. 1 in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The pastor of St. Roch Parish in Oxford said he has been a member of the Fraternity for 28 years and tries to attend the conference each year.
For 24 years he was a member of the Worcester Fraternity, he said. For the past few years he has been meeting weekly with the nine-member Providence Fraternity, since no other priests here are currently involved. (He said he was the only member of either diocese at the conference.) He expressed hope that another Fraternity will start in the Worcester Diocese and said anyone interested can contact him for more information.
He described the Fraternity as a committed brotherhood in which priests encourage each other to live the “10 Kingdom disciplines,” which the conference addressed.
The conference’s theme, “Return to Galilee,” was taken from Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil homily, which participants read and reflected on, Father Roy said. It used the Scripture, “Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Mt 28:10) Jesus invited the disciples to go to Galilee because it was the first place they encountered him, he said.
celebrate-logoConference participants were invited to go back to where they first met the Lord and to return to their commitment to live out the 10 disciplines, he said.
Personal holiness disciplines are: to pray an hour or more daily, read Scripture daily and keep a prayer journal, tithe 10 percent of one’s income and fast weekly.
For relationship with one’s brothers, disciplines are: to attend Fraternity meetings faithfully, accept the Fraternity’s leadership and teaching, receive discernment and spiritual direction from the Fraternity, and be zealous for personal, committed relationships with Jesus and brother priests.
Ministry disciplines are: to proclaim the “Visitation Message” (which Father Roy explained means God is visiting his people today with the gifts of the Holy Spirit), and to “empower God’s people in the Holy Spirit,” so they can come to a personal relationship with Christ and enflesh the Gospel message.
Father Roy said his talk focused on relationship with one’s brothers. One of the charisms of the Fraternity is that relationships must come before ministry, so one’s ministry can flow out of relationships, he said. The “hour of prayer” is about the priests’ relationship with Christ, and the weekly gatherings help them maintain that relationship.
“The relationship we have with the Lord, for us as priests, is very much centered on the Eucharist,” he said. “The high point of the Eucharist is when we hold up the consecrated bread and say, ‘This is my body, given for you.’”
Being faithful to weekly Fraternity gatherings requires sacrifice and discipline, “but when you walk through the door, you’re saying to the brothers, ‘This is my body, given for you,’” Father Roy said. He said it’s part of the Theology of the Body, investing one’s person in everything one does. In this case, one is saying, in effect, “Here I am in the body, present for you.”
He said Father Forrest W. Rouelle, one of the early members of the 32-year-old Fraternity, used to say, “I’ll see you in the Eucharist.”             Gathering with one’s brothers helps the priests keep themselves focused and replenished, accountable to one another, with good order in their lives, Father Roy said.
The Fraternity also provides intimacy, which is a dangerous word to use in a culture that tends to apply it to physical, sexual contact, he said. Using a play on words, he said, “The real intimacy is found in this: ‘In to me see.’” It involves inviting someone with whom you can be transparent to see inside of you. That includes Christ, encountered daily in prayer, and two or three of the local Fraternity members, he said.
Father Roy said his talk and other talks were part of three of the days, which included Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, small-group sharing, and worship music that “brings you into the throne room” to listen to God and search Scripture for confirmation of his messages.
July 30 was “brotherhood day,” a chance to go sight-seeing, including viewing a coral reef through a glass-bottom boat, and, for some of the younger men, snorkeling.
It was wonderful to be at the conference, a time of good prayer and brotherhood, Father Roy said. And he called the hospitality of the native people, both priests and laity, wonderful.