Fr. Raymond de Souza offered a fitting tribute to the late Fr. Richard Neuhaus at the First Things blog in honor of the 20th anniversary of Fr. Neuhaus’ ordination as a Catholic priest. His ordination took place at St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie in 1991, a year after his reception into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Fr. de Souza noted that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was present at Dunwoodie on the eve of the anniversary to kick off the new academic year, and he drew lessons from Fr. Neuhaus’ remarkable life.
“Few of you will have a life as public at Father Neuhaus had,” Archbishop Dolan said. “But we can all learn from him. The key to his life as a Christian disciple was that he always did his prayers in the morning before reading The New York Times. Prayer before penance, he would say!”
Fr. Neuhaus understood that holiness is an urgent matter for all. Therefore, he stressed that seminary and the priesthood ought to be a pilgrimage toward holiness. The long road of fidelity—of holiness—begins now. Father Neuhaus was fond of saying that the solution to our crises in the Church is fidelity, fidelity, fidelity!
Our first response to the spiritual and moral crises of our time must be our daily pursuit of holiness.