I was ordained a priest on March 22, 1969. After some sophisticated mathematical computation I
Because Albert has made it to his 50th without dying.
Because God has given him the gift of serving as a priest for fifty years.
Because God has been faithful to him.
Because God has given him the grace to be faithful to God in return.
All the good reasons I can think of begin with the word "God." So, this is really a celebration of God's unbounded, mysterious goodness to a certain monk-priest in a small monastery in downtown Newark, New Jersey.
People who know me well know that I have a big fat ego that would enjoy having a big celebration in my honor. But sorry, ego, the party next Saturday can't possibly be about you! After all, what have I had to do with the fact that I've been a priest for fifty years? Any answer you give I can restate it in terms of a gift from God (look at the list I started with above): The Lord has given me the grace to be faithful to my vocation. The Lord has given me health of body and mind so that I can continue to serve as a priest for so many years.
So, I don't see this jubilee celebration as an award ceremony for Outstanding Priestly Achievement. No, it's more like a party thrown by someone who wants to celebrate with his friends that he has won the Mega-Million Dollar Lottery. How lucky can a person be! Let's celebrate!"