Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Archives Bishop Lucia reflects on prayer at farewell Mass

Aug. 14, 2019

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – In a crowded St. Mary’s Cathedral on a hot July day, then Bishop-elect Douglas J. Lucia reflected on prayer, as he delivered the homily at a Farewell Mass held in his honor.

“This Sunday’s Gospel is a continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel, where Jesus tells us that Mary had ‘chosen the better part’ of taking time out with him, with God,” Bishop Lucia said at the July 27 Mass, reflecting on the recounting of the story of the sisters, Martha and Mary. “Is that not our definition of prayer? Taking time, making time for God? Consequently, the disciples follow up last week with a request this week that is a natural one: Lord, teach us to pray.”

The bishop noted the apostles were asking the Lord what their prayers should “look like.”

“I have to admit, since May 27, when I received the call from the papal nuncio about my new assignment, my prayer life has been all over the place,” he said.

Bishop Lucia connected his recent prayer life to a story of a grandfather, babysitting his granddaughter for an evening.

“The grandfather passed by her room and overheard her reciting the alphabet in an oddly reverent fashion,” Bishop Lucia said. “He paused at the door and asked her, ‘what on earth are you up to?’ ‘I was saying my prayers,’ said the little girl. ‘I couldn’t remember the words, so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me. He knows what I’m thinking.’ That’s my kind of prayer.”

While he noted that St. Augustine of Hippo said, “everything we need to pray for is summed up in the ‘Our Father,’” Bishop Lucia said the Gospel made him think of what Pope Francis calls his “five finger prayer.”

“The thumb is the finger that’s closest to you,” he said. “Start by praying for those who closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember.”

Bishop Lucia went on to note that next is the index finger, the finger commonly used to point out directions.
“Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you,” he said. “They need support and wisdom to show directions to others.”

On the middle finger, the tallest of the fingers, he suggested to pray for “leaders and those who have authority.”

“That finger might also remind us of those who irk us,” the bishop noted, grinning. “Pray for God’s guidance for them.”

Bishop Lucia noted the next finger, the ring finger, is the weakest of the fingers.

“It reminds us to pray for all who are in need – for the sick and those plagued by troubles known and unknown,” he said. “Finally, the smallest finger, our pinky, should remind us to pray for ourselves. Pope Francis said that when we’re done praying for the four other groups, we’ll be able to see our own needs in proper perspective.”
Bishop Lucia also reflected on the last line of the Gospel, in which we are reminded of “the fruit of our asking, seeking and knocking in prayer.”

“It’s the gift of God with us always, wherever we are on life’s journey,” he said. “For me, that is the most important gift I can receive at this time of transition, of new responsibilities. It’s also my prayer for Bishop (Terry R.) LaValley, my brother priests, deacons and each of you: that you will know the presence of God, who can put things together.”

“Thank you for everything over the last 30 years,” he concluded. “Let us hold each other in prayer. Amen.”
At the conclusion of the Farewell Mass, Father Joseph A. Morgan, diocesan vicar general and rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, presented the bishop with two gifts – a rosary and a zucchetto, both in the bright orange colors that represent Syracuse University.

Bishop Terry R. LaValley also thanked the Bishop for his service to the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

“For over 30 years, Father Lucia has given 200 percent of himself to the diocese and to the folks he calls parishioners and friends,” Bishop LaValley said. “I’m here to attest to his faithfulness and sacrifice for you.”
Bishop LaValley noted that the Mass was celebrated during Seaway Festival, a time when Ogdensburg area natives often return to the area to celebrate.

“As we celebrate Seaway weekend, we hope Bishop-elect Lucia sees his way back home,” he said.

For those attending, the Farewell Mass was an important way to honor their spiritual father and friend.

“Father Doug was our pastor at St. Mary’s in Canton for 10 to 12 years,” said Sue Law of Canton. “He’s not just our pastor, he’s a true friend. We’re very proud of him. He’s such a nice man. He’s open and loving, and I have a lot of respect for him."

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.