By Fr. Reginald, O.P.
It seems like only recently I was introducing myself as your new associate pastor, and now it’s time to say goodbye! I am moving on to Bloomington, Indiana, to be associate pastor at the Newman Center and parish there. I requested this move, and I am thankful to my Dominican Province for granting my request. As you probably know, liturgical tradition and sacred music have been in my bones ever since my conversion to Catholicism way back in college, and I have found myself longing for these more and more over the last two years. I have also found that young people respond positively to many elements of tradition when they are introduced to them. At the same time, I have been desiring to live in a Dominican community with a somewhat more contemplative way of life, singing the Liturgy of the Hours in church, for example. I think such practices are an important way to witness the contemplative spirit to a parish community. The Dominicans in my new community in Bloomington desire things like this, too, and so I think we will be able to put them into practice.
Allow me to share some of the highlights of my time here in Columbia:
As a Dominican, I instinctively teach theology to whomever will listen, and I have been blessed to be able to lead a group of stalwarts (some students, some resident parishioners) through some highlights of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism of the Catholic Church over these two years. Although it would take a lifetime and more to tackle every possible question, my great hope is that these series helped the attendees see that there is much wisdom in our millennia-old tradition and that Catholic thought can stand up intellectually against the claims of modern secularism.
I am also thankful for my involvement in the Extraordinary Form masses in the diocese. As you may know, Bishop McKnight arranged for this ancient form of worship to be celebrated on a regular basis, and so it is offered once a month at St. Brendan’s in Mexico (it’s on the first Sunday of every month at noon, if you’re interested in going) in addition to special occasions in different parts of the diocese. As I have written about in an earlier article, I have led the Gregorian Chant schola and a tireless group of students have joined me in singing.
Another highlight of my time here in the Jefferson City Diocese has been my experience as spiritual director of the Totus Tuus program over the summers. If you don’t know, Totus Tuus is a program that trains college students and sends them out to give religious education (along with a lot of fun and games) to kids at different parishes. This summer, they’re teaching them about the Sacraments and the Rosary. I try to visit each team each week — that’s 18 parishes in all — so I have been getting quite a tour of the diocese! The missionary teams pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary together, and mass, adoration, spiritual direction, and the availability of confession are part of the program. I have been delighted to see the devotion of our young missionaries! Observing the Totus Tuus program has also led me to reflect on the great gift of religious instruction, taught with love. These children are receiving formation that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
The above are just a few of the blessings that come to mind when I reflect on the end of my time here in Columbia. Thank you again for all your kindness and prayers, and please know that I will continue praying for you all.
Peace and blessings,
Fr. Reginald Wolford, O.P.