(From l to r) The Most Reverend Robert F. Hennessey, Auxillary Bishop of Boston; The Most Reverend Robert C. Evans, Auxillary Bishop of Providence; The Reverend Monsignor Michael T. Donohue; His Eminence Timothy M. Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York; The Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Joins in Joyful
Anniversary Celebration at
St. Matthias Church

By Donato A. Strammiello, Four County Catholic Contributor

East Lyme (June 28, 2015) - His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Metropolitan Archbishop of New York visited the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich, and the Reverend Monsignor Michael T. Donohue, St Matthias Pastor, former classmates and old friends from seminary days in Rome forty years ago. Bishop Cote and Monsignor Donohue were ordained June 29, 1975 by Blessed Pope Paul VI.

Cardinal Dolan and the bishops in attendance, including The Most Rev. Robert F. Hennessey, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, and former classmate Auxiliary Bishop of Providence, Robert C. Evans, concelebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving with Monsignor Donahue who was the principal celebrant. Bishop Cote presided.

Cardinal Dolan delivered the homily, Sunday, June 28, with exuberant cheer to a large congregation of St Matthias parishioners at the 11 o’clock Mass.

He focused on the themes of vocation, ordination and mission. He underscored these were the same themes that His Holiness Pope Paul VI had preached “two score years ago” at the ordination of both Monsignor Donahue and Bishop Cote, on a hot day at the Vatican in Rome.

“Ordination of priests makes them instruments of divine activism” expressed the Cardinal, further noting that “Jesus uses your humanity”, a theme also spoken by Monsignor Donahue.
 Cardinal Dolan applauded “this wonderful Diocese of Norwich”, and explained that Monsignor Donahue’s life ministry is his mission on the “front line of the Church in the parish”. He said that parish priests are favored laborers in the vineyard. 

“Vocation is a call by God to serve God and his Church as a priest, and it comes with towering duty to help his people find their vocation.”

The Cardinal reminded all present that God exalts and loves human nature and that Jesus took on our humanity, as true God and true man and saved the world.

Monsignor Donahue welcomed the congregation by sharing that, in his words, “I feel blessed to be here celebrating my 40 years in the priesthood”. After 43 years of being friends, he thanked Bishop Cote for his support. Monsignor Donahue has also served in parishes in Vernon, Uncasville, Willimantic and Norwichtown. He noted that as many priests do, he has kept a tally of the number of Masses celebrated, and the number on that Anniversary Sunday, was 15,720. “More to go” he told everyone. Spontaneous applause followed.

Addressing the faithful in his home parish of twenty-three years, standing beneath St. Matthias’ magnificent crucifix suspended above, Monsignor recalled his emotional journey as a servant of the Lord by sharing that “The 40 years of priesthood have been absolutely wonderful.”

Bishop Cote also shared his fond recollection of their days at the seminary and took the opportunity to thank Cardinal Dolan for his friendship and support, and to congratulate Monsignor Donohue for bringing good friends together on such a joyful occasion.