Holy Thursday: Not Immune to Scandal

In Matthew’s Gospel, the first Mass begins with a rather chilling revelation: “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Jesus is gathered with his disciples in the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover. Before he took the bread and broke it, Jesus warned them that His betrayer was in their midst. Upon hearing this, the disciples were greatly distressed and began to cry out “Surely it is not I, Lord!” According to Luke’s Gospel, this disturbing announcement is following by a debate among the disciples as to “which of them should be regarded as the greatest.” They’ve just been told that one of them will betray their Lord and next thing you know – they’re arguing over who’s the most important! Jesus has to remind them to follow His example as “the one who serves.”

Jesus proceeds to give them another reality check: “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.'” When Peter tells Jesus that his faith will never be shaken, Jesus replies with that memorable warning: “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Not just once will Peter deny, but three times!

Yet despite this full knowledge of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, Jesus institutes two sacraments: the Eucharist and Holy Orders. He tells them to “do this in commemoration of me” and with these words his apostles now became his first priests partaking in the first Mass. This understanding of the institution of the priesthood was made very clear at the Council of Trent: “If anyone shall say that by the words ‘Do this in commemoration of me’ Christ did not institute the apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer his body and blood: let him be anathema.” The Council Fathers did not mince words on this crucial point!

Of course, these two sacraments are spiritually and practically intertwined so it is fitting that they would be instituted at the same time. Without priests to celebrate Mass and consecrate hosts, there would be no Holy Eucharist. Yet it is fascinating to realize that Jesus instituted these two sacraments at the same time that he predicted the betrayals and denials of the men who were now his priests as well as his disciples.

Not all of the disciples betrayed or denied so dramatically as Judas and Peter. Most of them neither denied nor acknowledged him – they weren’t there to do either. Andrew, James and Matthew, for example, were not questioned by the high priest’s maid as Peter was. Peter “followed at a distance” as Jesus was led to the high priest’s house, which is how he came to be questioned in the courtyard. The other apostles had simply scattered after Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. We don’t know where they went. The shepherd had been struck and the sheep of the flock had indeed dispersed.

We can learn much from pondering the sources of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. All four Gospels point to greed as the primary motive for Judas’ actions. He is a complex character with likely multiple motives, but greed for those infamous 30 pieces of silver is generally understood as the origin of his betrayal. It is also likely that Judas did not or could not accept that the “kingdom of God,” of which Jesus so frequently spoke, would not be an earthly, powerful kingdom. Judas sought a political – not a peaceful – messiah.  (I could write a post on this topic alone, so I will have to stop myself here.)

As for Peter, his denials were caused by a lack of moral courage. The Catholic dictionary defines courage as: the virtue of bravery in facing difficulties, especially in overcoming the fear of consequences in doing good. As moral courage, it enables a person to pursue a course deemed right, through which one may incur contempt, disapproval, or opprobrium. Had Peter rejected the temptation to deny Jesus, he would have certainly faced criticism or censure from those assembled in the high priest’s courtyard. In John’s Gospel, the final person to question Peter was a relative of the high priest’s slave, whose ear Peter had cut off not that long ago. The man asked him: “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Now Peter is really under pressure – his questioner was in the garden and, worse, may have witnessed Peter’s violent action, which Jesus remedied with a healing. Mark’s Gospel describes Peter’s third denial in this manner: “He began to curse and to swear, ‘I do not know this man about whom you are talking.'” This was no subtle refutation – it was quite a dramatic denial. Interestingly, Peter does not use his master’s name in his response. The maidservant had used his name “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus” when she questioned Peter. But Peter cannot bring himself to say that name and simply denies knowing “this man.” The memorable rooster would crow soon thereafter.

peter and the rooster

Reflections such as these automatically make me think of the current leadership of our Church – the bishops who are the direct descendants of the apostles. As we are sadly aware, the hierarchy of our Church is frequently motivated by greed or at least an undue focus on financial matters. They often are more focused on the externals – optics, PR, reputation, titles, etc. – as though their diocese were their kingdom and they must maintain their power and influence over it. Likewise, many of our bishops and cardinals greatly lack the moral courage that is so much needed in these difficult times. And in my experience at the Chancery, the name of Jesus is not heard nearly as much as you would expect. We were all working there because of “this man,” but how little did I hear His Holy Name.

Judas and Peter were two of Christ’s closest companions. They lived with him throughout his three years of public ministry. They witnessed his healings, his miracles, his preaching. They were there the day He multiplied the loaves and fish with enough left over to open a fish sandwich shop. They were there the day He raised Lazarus from the dead. They saw and heard and experienced it all. And still they betrayed and denied while the others scattered in fear. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that “it is a mistake to think that the great privilege of living in company with Jesus is enough to make a person holy.” Judas and Peter prove that point very poignantly. They also teach us an important lesson for our modern times: “great privilege” in the Church does not automatically lead to personal holiness. In fact, it can often lead in the opposite direction.

But then there’s John, who I have intentionally neglected to mention until now. John is generally considered the youngest of the apostles and was described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John was the only apostle who did not abandon Jesus during His Passion. He stood faithfully at the foot of the cross while Jesus suffered and died. Jesus addressed him directly from the cross with those beautiful words, “Behold, your mother.” From that day forward, John cared for Mary as though he were her son. John offers us a vivid example of love for the Lord, faithfulness in the face of fear, and devotion to our Blessed Mother.

Just as young John must have been a source of great consolation for Jesus during his Passion and death, the young priests of our Church are a source of hope and consolation for us. They are so often filled with great love for the Lord and His Mother. From what I have witnessed or been told, they are remaining faithful to their vows to God and their commitment to His people. They are dedicated to being the “ones who serve” instead of striving for great privilege, lofty titles or plush appointments. This June, eight men will be ordained priests for the Diocese of Buffalo. That is the largest number of ordinands since the year I was born – 1983. What a great sign of hope for our Church!

This Holy Thursday, our Church remains embroiled in a massive scandal related to clerical sexual abuse. But Holy Thursday itself was not immune to scandal. One of Jesus’ longtime followers would betray him in a garden. The apostle who would eventually lead His Church would deny Him three times in a courtyard. The rest of His apostles – save one – would desert Jesus out of fear and weakness. Had there been a Church already present at the time, can you imagine what a scandal this would have been?! Judas was essentially the treasurer for the apostles – the keeper of their collective funds. “Follow the money,” I imagine people would have said. “I knew that Judas guy was shady.” You might have heard people exclaiming: “Peter’s going to be Pope after he denied Jesus three times? What kind of leadership is this?!”

On this Holy Thursday, let us pray for our priests, who give us the gift of Jesus through the Holy Eucharist. Let us pray for our young priests, our seminarians and those about to be ordained. Let us pray for our Church’s leaders – who were priests long before they were prelates. As difficult as it may be, let us pray for abusive priests, whose ordinations imprinted an indelible sacramental character on their souls. Their immortal, priestly souls are in danger. Let us pray for mercy while we work for justice.

Abusive priests have betrayed their God, their vows and their people.

Complicit bishops have denied the abuse, the cover-ups and the relocations.

But unlike most of Jesus’ disciples that Holy Thursday night, we will not scatter. We are His disciples too and we will remain faithful! In the midst of this painful scandal, we will not abandon Jesus despite the sins and failings of some of His ministers. We must stand strong in support of the good priests who far outnumber the bad ones. We must stand in solidarity with each other as we demand moral courage from our Church leadership. And we must be willing to stand at the foot of the cross with the victims of clerical sexual abuse. We must be committed to helping them obtain the help and healing they need to come back from the death of their innocence.


A Prayer for Priests by St. Charles Borromeo

O Holy Mother of God, pray for the priests your Son has chosen to serve the Church. Help them, by your intercession, to be holy, zealous and chaste. Make them models of virtue in the service of God’s people. Help them be pious in meditation, efficacious in preaching, and zealous in the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Help them administer the Sacraments with love and joy. Amen.

Stephanie’s Letter

For several reasons, it is not hard for me to recall April 17th, 2018. I remember the snowy, 30-degree weather as I hurried into the Catholic Center that Tuesday morning. Such weather in April is not unfamiliar to Buffalonians, who are accustomed to Second Winter replacing Spring. But that morning, the chilly temps were more notable because I was returning from a visit to a warmer clime. Given the scandal swirling within the Diocese at the time, I had been tempted to postpone or cancel my long-scheduled trip to San Francisco and Yosemite. In the end, I had decided that a 4-day weekend to a beautiful area might be just what I needed.


By the early hours of Tuesday the 17th, I was beginning to doubt that decision. My flight home had been delayed due to weather, which meant I didn’t make it into Buffalo until 2 am. Due at the Chancery by 8:30 at the latest, I began to mentally prepare myself to return to the Catholic Center running on empty. The Wednesday prior, I had prepared the office for the Bishop’s return from Easter vacation. As these photos indicate, he was greeted by a full counter and a plethora of mail to process. I wondered what would greet me upon my return a week later.

It was now 11:40 am. The preceding 3 hours had been a dizzying blur of emails, voice mails and requests. Grateful that the Bishop was now otherwise occupied, I took a moment to catch my breath at my desk. Father Ryszard must have been waiting for this opportunity because he immediately approached my cubicle. I figured he was going to update me on what had transpired during my absence, but he had only one thing to say: “You should read this.” His expressive eyes told me all I needed to know: the letter he had given me pertained to the abuse scandal and it was going to be a painful read.

I have never been so viscerally affected by the written word. While reading Stephanie McIntyre’s 7-page letter to Bishop Malone, I had to stop multiple times. At least three times to brush away tears, which were blurring my vision and preventing me from reading further. Once to bend over and hope I didn’t throw up on the anti-fatigue mat upon which I stood. By the time I reached the letter’s end, I was sobbing with sorrow for Stephanie while my blood boiled at the thought of her abuser, Fabian Maryanski. Just writing these words brings me back to that seismic moment. It was as though I had survived an earthquake that only I had felt.

Around 12:20 pm, I realized that I needed to explain my crying fit to my nearest co-worker. Close to me both figuratively and literally, she could see and hear me crying. She was accustomed to my tears during and after speaking with survivors on the phone, but would have had no idea what brought on the waterworks this time. I could not trust myself to speak about Stephanie’s letter yet, which is why I resorted to email. Our email exchange can be found below:

When reading this email thread,

please begin at the bottom of the second image and read up. 



This is the first time that I’m sharing the background of my “burn this place down” remark, which was made public during 60 Minutes Overtime last October. How vividly do I recall the moment when Bill Whitaker startled me by reading that line and asking for my comment on it! As the blood rushed to my cheeks, I thought of Stephanie and the intense anger I had felt upon reading her letter. Reviewing this email thread a year later, I winced at the burning and skinning I wrote about a year ago. Those lines make me sound angry and violent. And yet that is how I felt after I read Stephanie’s letter: enraged and wanting to somehow release that rage, which affected me so powerfully. I fear fire and can hardly skin grapes, so I’m no threat as an arsonist or otherwise. But how I burned with anger after reading what had happened to this innocent young girl! Her entire life was traumatically and permanently impacted by a priest’s repeated abuse in every imaginable category: sexual, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.


Stephanie’s story impacted me at a deep level for many reasons, but especially because I could relate to her story as a woman. Hers was one of the first female survivor stories I encountered and certainly the most disturbing in its detail. A few of the events she described made my skin crawl because I could not fathom having physically experienced what she had been made to endure. Other elements of her story resonated with me on personal levels of a different nature. For example, Stephanie described how she rode her bike to Mass to meet her new pastor, Maryanski. Later on, he would give her a new bike among other special, expensive gifts. This mention of bicycles reminded me of how as a kid, I used to ride my bike around my neighborhood so much that an elderly man at the end of the street called me “the bike girl.” Stephanie was Maryanski’s “bike girl”– an innocent young lady who would never be the same after that fateful bike ride to meet her new pastor.

To make matters somehow even worse, I knew that Maryanski had friends in particularly high places:

  • He was a classmate and personal friend of Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz
  • He was a golfing buddy of Msgr. Paul Litwin – longtime Chancellor for the Diocese of Buffalo, who had just recently left to become pastor of a wealthy parish
  • He was also a “Thursday night dinner” friend of Msgr. Litwin, who gathered with a tight group of classmates and friends every Thursday evening for cocktails & dinner

I wondered if Stephanie knew this information about her abuser and how his high-ranking friends (and a grossly negligent* Bishop Malone) had protected him all these years.

Although I was highly distressed by Stephanie’s letter, I was grateful to Fr. Ryszard for showing it to me.** I remember asking him these questions about Stephanie’s letter: “When did Bishop Malone read this?” and “What did he do about it it?” His answers were simple: “When it arrived on Friday the 13th” and “He sent it on to Terry and Lawlor.” I knew the Bishop would have read the letter himself – he always did so with correspondence labeled “Personal” and/or “Confidential.” It was important to know that he had read it the same day it arrived. While not surprised to hear that her letter was sent directly to the lawyers, I was extremely disheartened nonetheless. This letter requires a pastoral, personal response – not a legal one! I thought to myself. Here we go again with Bishop Connors and Most Reverend Quinlan. 


It was indeed a legalistic response that Stephanie received in early June. I remember being shocked by just how brief, cold and impersonal it was. Drafted by the lawyers and approved and signed by Bishop Malone, the letter merely mentioned his “sadness” regarding Stephanie’s “history with Fr. Maryanski” and emphasized that Bishop Malone was not in Buffalo at the time. The words “abuse” and “crime” were, of course, never used. There was no personal expression of sympathy or pastoral support. No indication that the Bishop wanted justice for 15-year old Stephanie or appropriate consequences for her abuser’s abhorrent offenses. The letter closed with a stern request that Stephanie cooperate with the Diocese’s investigator.

I was appalled. As I formatted the ugly little paragraph on the Bishop’s letterhead, I thought to myself: How can we possibly send such an awful thing to this brave woman? I remember thinking that this was the worst thing I’d ever cut and pasted onto that familiar cream and green stationery. I was so tempted to humanize those heartless words, but stopped myself as I remembered my recently adopted rule — no more making the Bishop look better than he was. As I folded the letter and prepared to stick it in the envelope, I thought about adding a post-it note that simply read: Someone in this Chancery cares about you and is sorry that you are receiving such a miserable missive. How I wish I had.

Bishop Malone may not have appreciated or respected Stephanie’s courageous testimony, but the people of Buffalo and beyond surely did. Stephanie’s story would be compellingly told by Jay Tokasz of the Buffalo News in a May 6th front page article. The next day, Monday the 7th, I witnessed two unbelievable reactions from Maryanski’s close friends.

It was after 10 am and Bishop Malone and his Senior Staff were in the fourth floor’s large conference room for their regular Monday morning meeting. Next thing I knew, Msgr. Litwin waltzed through the Chancery’s oak doors. He had started at Christ the King Parish about a month before… just a few days after Easter. Monsignor was holding the Buffalo News Sunday edition in his hand and his face was filled with consternation. I could only assume he was distressed by the Maryanski cover story. He was, but not for the reason I expected. This is what he exclaimed to me: “You won’t believe this! My winning golf score is listed in the Sunday paper, but now I can’t ask people ‘Did you see what was in yesterday’s paper?’ because they’ll think I’m talking about the cover story!” Then he opened the paper to show me this mention of his name and score:


At this, I was bereft of speech. I have no idea what my facial response looked like, but it was of little consequence since Monsignor paid me no heed while he proceeded to collect his mail and then exit the Chancery. I never uttered a syllable in response to him, but oh the things I said upon his departure!!

After it was determined that Maryanski would be summoned to the Chancery that afternoon and put on Administrative Leave, Bishop Grosz worked with me to prepare the appropriate documentation. I was becoming sadly familiar with these documents, but Bishop Grosz always made sure I had all of the details accurately noted. He was visibly crestfallen as he finalized these documents. At one point he starting shaking his head as he expressed the following sentiments:

“Oh poor Fabe, this will be so hard on him!” 

Again, I was speechless. ‘Poor Fabe?’ Are you freaking kidding me?!!!!! It SHOULD be hard on him – finally!! He got away with this for long enough! Not once had either bishop lamented the damage done to “poor Stephanie.” Not once had they expressed distress over the abuse she had endured or the trauma she suffers to this day. But now “poor Fabe” had to face mild consequences for his crimes and it was suddenly a dark day at 795 Main Street. Bishop Grosz was in quite a frenetic state as he prepared for his friend’s visit to the Chancery. I wondered what Bishop Grosz had done in the past to prevent this very thing from occurring. Now he could no longer save his beloved buddy.

Stephanie’s story went on to become the heart and soul of Charlie’s third report as well as the 60 Minutes report that followed. Without her courageous testimony, we would not have known the full story behind Maryanski, whose infamous entry on the Bishop’s draft list reads as follows: “We did not remove him from ministry despite full knowledge of the case, and so including him on list might require explanation.” Yes, it does require explanation, Bishop Malone, and we are still waiting for that explanation.

I must admit that it has been challenging to write this post. Reliving these specific days last year was more emotional than I expected. Reviewing the emails included above, I recall so vividly how it felt to be “in the pits of despair” at the Chancery. I often felt trapped in my cubicle as if it were a cell… wondering if the air quality in the Chancery had always been this bad or if my inability to take a deep breath was due to psychological factors rather than environmental ones. Wishing that I could do something – anything – to help survivors such as Stephanie.

Eventually I realized there was something that could be done to assist them in their quest for truth and justice. In the process, I was able to “meet” Stephanie via social media. Her gentle demeanor, courageous spirit and deep faith are a tremendous example to us all. I keep trying to express just what Stephanie means to me, but all of my words fall short. She is an indescribably incredible woman. 

Stephanie: ever since April 17th, 2018 you have been a hero of mine. I believe you, I respect you and I admire you. May God reward you – in this life and the one to come – for your strength, your faith and your courage.

superman s.png




*By “gross negligence” I mean that Bishop Malone was made aware of Maryanski’s history a month after being installed as bishop in 2012 and never properly addressed the allegations against him (and many other abusive priests) or initiated the process of having such cases adjudicated by Rome as canon law clearly mandates.

**Father Ryszard broke no Chancery protocol by sharing Stephanie’s letter with me. We were both authorized to process Bishop Malone’s mail and often saw “Personal/Confidential” correspondence after the Bishop read it. We would be the ones scanning things to the lawyers or otherwise forwarding/handling such letters. Father was sharing the letter with me because I had missed its arrival and he wanted me to be aware of it.

Cover image: A Girl Writing by Henriette Browne – chosen because I imagine young Stephanie encouraging current Stephanie as she wrote her powerful letter to Bishop Malone.

The Saint of the Day


Today is Bishop Malone’s first name feast day. April 3rd is the feast of St. Richard of Chichester, an English saint who takes his title from the diocese of which he was bishop during the first half of the 13th century. Please join me in saying a prayer for Bishop Malone on his special feast.

st. richard.jpg

Bishop Malone told me about his patron early on in my Chancery tenure. Before he left for his annual July vacation that summer of 2015, he showed me a small booklet entitled St. Richard of Chichester by Reverend Henry E. Dunn. The booklet was first published in 1907 and Bishop Malone’s copy seemed to have been printed not long after. It was mostly legible, but no longer bound. The pages fell limp inside the light blue cover. Bishop Malone asked if I might be able to copy the pages and assemble them into a new booklet. There was an altar boy named Richard who served at the Cathedral and Bishop Malone wanted to share this biography of their mutual patron with him.

Looking at the booklet after Bishop Malone departed for the Cape, I immediately noted that the pages were not going to copy well if at all. At 32 pages, the relatively small booklet would be better re-typed than copied. Thus I began typing three or four pages a day during the weeks the Bishop was gone. Before he returned, I printed the new booklet with a cardstock cover that included a color image of the saint. I still remember Bishop Malone’s expression of delighted surprise when I showed him the finished product. I was thrilled to have helped him in this way. (I say this not to praise myself, but to demonstrate how much Bishop Malone loves his patron saint and how eager I was to do anything I could for the Bishop.)

One happy result of typing up a saint’s life story is that you are not likely to forget it! Here are some highlights of St. Richard’s life:

  • He was a gifted scholar and canon lawyer
  • As bishop, he personally visited the sick, attended to the poor and buried the dead. At one point his steward voiced concern that the bishop’s almsgiving was greater than his means. To this St. Richard replied by telling the man to sell some of his (St. Richard’s) belongings including his horse.
  • According to legend, he once accidentally knocked over the chalice while celebrating Mass. However, not a drop of the Precious Blood was spilled, which is why a chalice is one of the symbols associated with this saint.
  • He foretold his own death

All of these are noteworthy, but it is this description of St. Richard that is most incredible to me:

“In maintaining discipline St. Richard was inflexible, especially in chastising crimes in the clergy: no intercession of the king, archbishop, and several other prelates could prevail with him to mitigate the punishment of a priest who had sinned against chastity.”*

Wow. You canNOT make this stuff up, my friends.

This element of Saint Richard’s life reminds us of an important point: clerical sins against chastity are not a modern phenomenon. St. Richard lived from 1197-1253… a reminder that sins of this kind are nothing new. While St. Richard would be familiar with the sins that we are sadly aware of in the Church today, he would not relate to the cover up and conspiracy that have surrounded these sinful actions. St. Richard himself would never have stood for such a response to clerical misconduct of this nature. Neither would the pope who reigned during much of St. Richard’s lifetime.

innocent III.jpg

Pope Innocent III was a brilliant pontiff who “conquered heresies, clarified Church doctrines, corrected clerical abuses,” and sanctioned St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic to continue their respective reforms and ministries. In St. Francis and St. Dominic, Pope Innocent saw a powerful antidote to the vices which were plaguing the clergy at that time. During his 18-year reign, Pope Innocent authorized his papal legates to “deprive all unworthy clergy of their benefices [revenues due from their ecclesiastical offices] and there was no right of appeal.”*

How greatly does our Church need bishops such as St. Richard and a pope of Pope Innocent III’s caliber! Their moral discipline, moral courage and moral clarity plus their ability to effectively reform are sorely lacking at this time. On this feast of St. Richard, let us pray that God might inspire all of our bishops – especially Bishop Richard Malone – to act with the fortitude and conviction which marked every aspect of St. Richard’s life but especially clerical reform.

The following prayer of St. Richard of Chichester was made popular by the play Godspell where the words can be found in a song called “Day by Day.” 

Thanks be to thee, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which thou hast given us,
for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
may we know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly.    Amen.



Thinking about the “saint of the day” brings back many fond memories from my time at the Chancery. One of my regular duties there was to create and type the Bishop’s agenda for each day he was in the office. As I became accustomed to creating the agenda, I began adding “the Saint of the Day, pray for us” underneath each day’s date. This was a natural instinct of mine due to my upbringing. My wonderful Mom began every day of homeschooling with the appropriate reading from Saints for Young People for Everyday of the Year, a two-part series by the Daughters of Saint Paul. My siblings and I loved learning about our heavenly friends whose stories were filled with such fascinating details, heroic achievements and compelling holiness. We eventually branched out into Butler’s Lives of the Saints, which is considered the authoritative work on the subject, and many full biographies of individual saints.

Thus it surprised me when my “saint of the day” practice became such a remarked-upon addition to the Chancery routine. At least once a week, one of the Chancery bishops or priests would comment about a saint’s name. Usually they expressed surprise as they hadn’t heard of that particular saint. Sometimes they even questioned whether the saint was real or not! Well do I recall my debate with Monsignor Litwin as to whether St. Lidwina was a legitimate historical figure. (She most certainly is and she’s awesome!) When I told Bishop Malone the saga of St. Dymphna’s life, he was staggered by it and immediately called across the room to Bishop Grosz and Monsignor Slubecky: “Ed, David- you’ve got to hear this story!”

Bishop Malone frequently commented on my saintly selections and more than once noted that I was “giving the Chancery a lesson in hagiography.” I began to have a little fun with the practice and started to include some truly unusual saints when there was no “standard” saint assigned to a date. I particularly recall Sts. Ewald the Dark and Ewald the Fair whose feast is in early October. These two missionary martyrs shared the same name and were thus distinguished by the color of their hair. I can still hear Monsignor Slubecky’s robust laugh when I explained the saints of the day to him!

I don’t have many pictures of the Chancery because it never occurred to me to take photos of my workplace while I was actually working there. How I wish I’d taken a photo of the infamous vacuum closet wherein I discovered the notorious black binder! But I did take a photo of the final agenda I created. It was dated August 9th. My last official day was Friday the 10th, but I didn’t create an agenda that day because the Bishop took off on Fridays.*

last agenda.png[I maintained the name of the individual who had the first appointment that day since that person was my eventual replacement, Patricia. I remember how happy I was when her interview with Bishop Malone was successful and he determined that she would be the one to take the position. As it was my next-to-last day there, I was quite relieved!]

A wave of nostalgia came over me that morning as I surveyed the Bishop’s counter, which was attached to my cubicle. Bishop Malone did most of his work while standing at this counter. He would peruse the mail, jot notes to staff, review various materials, check his calendar, and collect any items he needed for evening events. When I think of Bishop Malone, I imagine him standing at this counter where I interacted with him countless times over the years.

Looking at this familiar counter for the final time in an official capacity, I took a photo of it:

last day counter.jpg

Here’s what the Bishop’s counter looked like that last day… and every day beforehand. There’s the Bishop’s mail at the far end of the counter. Beyond the wooden mail tray are the Diocesan coat of arms flags, which I had prepared for the Bishop’s new residence. They’re the white items wrapped in plastic.

The traffic signal colored folders contained the materials the Bishop would need for the various meetings on his agenda that day. The red folder next to the agenda contained information pertaining to the letters to Cardinals Dolan and O’Malley, which were my last drafting assignment from Bishop Malone. The oft-used “To Be Signed” blue folder contained the final versions of those letters for his signature. At the forefront of the photo, you can see part of the “office toolbox” I set up for the Bishop’s use… letter opener, paper clips, stapler, white out, post-it notes of all sizes. The bright pink post-it notes you see contained the names of Bishop Malone’s key staff. We designed them so that all he had to do was check a name and attach the post-it to a document, which I would then send off through inter-office mail.

The silver base of my standing desk is visible on the lefthand side of this photo and shows just how closely Bishop Malone and I worked. We were literally within an arm’s length of each other!

There are also the plastic bins that you can see peeking out from under the counter. I used them to store items which needed to be filed. I learned pretty early on that it wasn’t a good idea to file items too quickly because oftentimes the Bishop or other Chancery staff would need to review a document more than once and it was helpful to have such items near at hand. Always one to attach significance to colors, I designated the bins as follows:

~ The blue one contained all documents pertaining to the priests and deacons for blue is Mary’s color. I prayed that our Blessed Mother might intercede for the men who had generously devoted their lives to ministry within her Son’s Church.

~ The green one was for “people, places and things” because green is my favorite color and also the color of hope and harmony the latter of which I always strove to achieve in responses related to disgruntled people, challenging places or hapless things.

~ The orange one was for the Archives because orange is my least favorite color and I hated the Archives… for obvious reasons.

And there you have it – the memories that come back to me when I think of my “saint of the day” experiences in the Chancery. Despite all that has occurred since my last day there, these memories bring a smile to my face. It even makes me laugh to recall how often Monsignor Slubecky would emerge from his office waving an agenda and exclaiming something along the lines of: “St. Gosbert’s feast day is finally here – I’ve been waiting for it!”

God rest your soul, Monsignor.

God help our diocese.

May the saints of all the days intercede for us! 



*In case you can’t quite believe that quotation about St. Richard, you can read the online biography from which it was pulled.

*In fairness to Bishop Malone, I should note that his weekends were almost always filled with several Masses and other events. Thus he did not have Saturdays and Sundays off as people usually do and his taking Fridays off was an appropriate practice.

*Quotations in this paragraph were taken from this article.