To the Moon and Back

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Like many other grandparents, my mother gives her grandchildren a kiss and a big hug when greeting them or saying goodbye to them and then adds the phrase, “I love you to the moon and back!”  I must admit I thought she was the only grandparent who used this saying, but now realize this statement is employed by countless other grandmas and grandpas.  Recently, I observed it on a plaque in the den of a family who are parishioners here at St. Boniface and mentioned to them that my mother says the same thing to her grandchildren.

To the moon and back is not exactly eternity, but wow, what a distance it is!  At the conclusion of Saint Matthew’s Gospel Jesus says, “Go Teach All People My Gospel.”   Notice his choice of words, “ALL” which in essence means everyone.  Jesus did not want to keep His message confined to just Jerusalem and the land of his birth, death and resurrection; rather he wanted it revealed to the furthest and remotest corners of the earth, and for over 2000 years that is exactly what happened, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their successors.

A little more than a month ago, Pope Francis created five new Cardinals, or Princes of the Church.  Heeding the mandate of Jesus, he continues a pattern of finding Cardinals at the peripheries of the world and from dioceses which have not traditionally had a Cardinal.  With this new group of men, Francis has confirmed his preferences for dioceses that are not traditional Sees for a “red hat”.  This group of men will be elevated to Cardinals this Wednesday, June 28 in Rome by Pope Francis.

A good example of the Pope breaking from tradition is where these men currently serve, Laos, Mali, Sweden and San Salvador.   Each of these respective Sees will receive a “red hat”.  Francis also breaks from tradition in that only two of the men are currently Archbishops.  Two others are simply Bishops, and one is the long standing Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Salvador, El Salvador; his name is Jose Aregorio Rosa-Chavez and is known to have closely worked with slain Archbishop Oscar Romero.

While we may not be called to go to the moon and back, or to evangelize the furthest corners of the globe, we are called to be witnesses to Christ in our local communities, in the work place, school and our families.  Perhaps our Holy Father is reminding us we are all called to be missionaries and be the presence of Christ to all we meet.  Who knows?  Actually on a very local level here in Rockville Centre our Bishop, John Barres is also calling us to Dramatic Missionary Growth! This phrase has become one of the mantras of his Episcopacy since arriving on Long Island earlier this year.  Our actions here locally may have profound effects and influences in our local area and just maybe to the ends of the world!

—Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here and in our Parish Bulletin

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