ND priest chosen to preach at NYC Good Friday service [CNA]

Bismarck, N.D., Apr 10, 2014 / 09:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Monsignor James Shea, this year’s preacher of the Tre Ore service for Good Friday at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, has said he will speak about how the suffering and death of Christ is “the actual pattern of the Christian life.”

“Suffering is meant for us to be something which opens our lives to meaning and to purpose,” Msgr. Shea told CNA April 9. “Suffering that’s empty is the worst thing you can imagine. But suffering that has meaning, suffering for love, is the thing which gives (the) most beauty to life.”

Msgr. Shea, a priest of the Diocese of Bismarck, is president of the University of Mary, located in Bismarck.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York selected Msgr. Shea to preach at St. Patrick’s Cathedral April 18 for the Tre Ore service. Previous preachers at St. Patrick's Tre Ore have included Fr. Robert Barron and Fr. Romanus Cessario.

The event, lasting from noon until three, is a reference to the three hours during which Christ hung on the Cross, and it reflects on the seven last words from the Cross. It will be followed at 3:30 p.m. by the solemn liturgy of Good Friday.

The service was introduced to the Archdiocese of New York by Venerable Fulton Sheen, who was an auxiliary bishop of New York from 1951 until 1966.

During the Tre Ore, Msgr. Shea will deliver seven homilies of 10-15 minutes each. The service will also include music, meditative prayer, and opportunities for silent meditation.

Msgr. Shea emphasized that Christ's death “isn’t simply a sentimental or nostalgic event that happened some time ago.” As the Son of God, his death is “the center point of human history.”

In this light, “to consider these final words of the Lord from the Cross is really quite extraordinary.”

He said Christ's words, specially recorded in the Gospel of John, are an invitation to “a deeper level of understanding.”

“Behold your mother, behold your son… Father forgive them, they know not what they do… I thirst,” Msgr. Shea said, quoting the Gospel.

The priest reflected that New York City is “a crossroads of the world,” very different from his home in the plains of North Dakota.

“All cultures and even faiths converge in New York. I think and pray about all those who will come into the cathedral that day.”

He anticipated that many will visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the day.

“It will be Good Friday, and so people will be apt to wander in to hear the music. In the midst of that, I have the very humbling opportunity to speak to them about the death and the dying of Jesus, which is really actually very touching.”

Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck has stated that Msgr. Shea, “himself a devoted and zealous priest and a deeply spiritual man, will, I am confident, inspire all who hear him preach during this most holy time on Good Friday.”

“He's an excellent preacher of the word of God and will impress upon all the depth of the love and mercy of God in offering his only begotten Son for the sins of the world.”

Msgr. Shea said Cardinal Dolan’s request that he preach the Tre Ore “speaks to his kindness as a spiritual father” and “expresses his esteem for Catholic education.”

The priest was a seminarian at the North American College in Rome, at the time that Cardinal Dolan was serving as its rector.


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And YOU thought ND meant Notre Dame. :slight_smile:

Well I did.

The University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota) is where he’s from. Sounds like his choice of topics is perfect for the occasion. :thumbsup:

Nope. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad…


Monsignor James Shea (aka ND Priest … as in North Dakota). He is the President of ANOTHER American University named for “Our Lady”. The University of Mary (Bismarck, ND). Notre Dame in French translates to “Our Lady”.

I know what you mean about “ND”, I think. The five year anniversary of THIS looms May 15. And the second anniversary of Fr. Weslin’s death is the next day (May 16).

The late Father Norman Weslin was arrested (see that moment on the Notre Dame campus 5/15/2009 below) for peacefully demonstrating with prayers, singing and a few pro-life signs - while inside the convocation ceremonies the country’s foremost pro-abortion advocate was being bedecked in the robes of an honorary doctorate of Notre Dame, paid a handsome honorarium, and selected over all others to be the graduation speaker at the Catholic University.

One day I hope there is a statue to Father Weslin on the spot he was arrested. Or an area called “Weslin Square” where prayers against Social injustices are invoked by pious crowds of petitioners.

And perhaps a canonical case for Father Norman’s sainthood should be proposed (if it hasn’t been already). THEN would the formerly great school … note their shame.


The late Father Norman Weslin, moments before his arrest at Notre Dame, May 15, 2009. *** To his right is Norma Mc Corvey … the “Roe” of the famous court case*** that made abortions legal throughout the US. Mc Corvey herself (ALSO arrested on that day, along with 88 others) is now a pro-life advocate and admits she was used by others to make that landmark case. Father Weslin passed away 5/16/2012.

Meanwhile – blessings upon you Monsignor Shea, ND priest – and may the Holy Spirit guide your every word this Good Friday in New York!

youtube.com/watch?v=AnADfbtRRcs < “To Be Great We Need To Get Over Ourselves …” – Monsignor James Shea address on video

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