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Fr. Henry M. Cunney

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Six Decades of Priestly Joy

My classmates and I recently celebrated 57 years of priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Over the years, we have celebrated thousands of Masses, baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
We have brought the Sacraments to the sick, and made countless visits to hospitals and
nursing homes. Some of us also have taught in Catholic schools.

Many in my family were educators, and I really enjoyed teaching. Jesus used stories to teach
the Gospel by taking real life situations and applying them to eternal life. Children love stories,
so I would tell my students stories about the saints. Most of the saints faced many of the
problems that we face today, so we can learn a great deal from them.

As the years passed, I had to remember that my own education was important, too. To this
end, I took sabbaticals at the University of Notre Dame and Seton Hall University where I
could avail of presentations given by biblical scholars and liturgists from all over the world.

At that time, there were many changes happening in our Archdiocese. The clergy shortage
was just beginning, and some of our duties as pastors were being performed by lay people.
It was also during this season of change that Fr. Bob Connors began hosting weekly suppers
for local priests at his parish in Newburyport. These times of priestly fellowship and good
meals became one of the highlights of my week.

When I retired, Fr. Louis Bourgeois kept a Saturday night dinner group going. He liked to call it
the ROMEO Club—Retired Old Men Eating Out. We enjoyed the company and we were home
in time to watch the Red Sox.

Today I live at a residence for senior priests called Regina Cleri, but I am still able to go out to
parishes to celebrate Mass. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years who have
helped me along my journey as a priest. What a journey it has been. I smile and take solace
in the quip of a friend who recently said to me, “Father, relax. The first 57 years are the hardest.”

*To watch a video featuing Fr. Cunney, click here.

 

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