Tag Archives: Jacksonville Chapter

Meet the Chaplain: Fr. Christopher Liguori – Jacksonville Chapter

Father Christopher Liguori, the pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Jacksonville, Fla., is the co-chaplain of Legatus’ Jacksonville Chapter. He was ordained a priest in 2003 and has served in a variety of parish assignments, including parochial vicar at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. His interests include traditional liturgy and sacred music, classical architecture and religious art. He is also passionate about Catholic education. He spoke with Legatus magazine staff‚ writer Brian Fraga.

Fr. Christopher Liguori

Fr. Christopher Liguori

Was the Catholic faith a big part of your home growing up?

I am the fourth child of five boys. My grandparents were Italian immigrants who, of course, were Catholic. †They settled in a small town in upstate New York where there wasn’t a priest. My grandmother, who never learned English, used to go to the Protestant church and would bring my father, since he was the baby of four boys. For reasons I do not know, he ended up attending Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and was ordained an Episcopalian priest. I was raised Anglo-Catholic until my teens.

When did you first discern your call to the priesthood?

It was later in life, in my early 30s. It was very much a process of conversion. I was a political science major with plans to become an international corporate lawyer. But I ended up goofing o‚ff in college and knew law school wasn’t for me. After a few years of surfing during the day and waiting on tables at night, I went back to college and got a degree in design technology.

I was about to start my degree in architecture when the call became even stronger, the major influence being my home parish, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, as well as my volunteer work at Catholic Charities. While vacationing with my family in Italy, I took a train to Rome to meet up with my pastor, Fr. Robert Baker [now Bishop Baker of the Birmingham diocese], to attend a papal audience with him. Shaking the hand of Pope John Paul II had a profound effect on me.

What were your duties as parochial vicar at the Cathedral Basilica?

Cathedral Basilica was my home parish. During my six years at seminary, I had a room in the rectory and would spend breaks and summers there, living with the priests and bishop, so it was like coming home. Serving in the nation’s oldest parish carries with it a responsibility to preserve and participate in its historical role where the Catholic faith had its start in 1565.

My assignment also included being master of ceremonies for the bishop, so I was in charge of all the cathedral liturgies that the bishop presided at, as well as travelling to 20 to 25 parishes a year to assist with confirmations and other events. †This gave me a great perspective of the diocese.

How and when did you become acquainted with Legatus?

My first assignment was at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Ponte Vedra in 2003. Th†is was the year the Jacksonville Chapter chartered. Bowie Kuhn, who founded the chapter, was a member of this parish. Since we were both associated with Opus Dei, we had many long conversations. †The bishop was the chapter’s first chaplain, and he asked me to assist him.

What have your impressions of Legatus been?

Legatus is like family to me. I have been with them for 12 years. I so look forward to the monthly meetings. Legatus Jacksonville members are the most wonderful people, really striving to live holy lives. †They are also very supportive and appreciative of me. I recently built a church, school, parish hall and office. †They were with me the whole way, encouraging and supporting me.

BRIAN FRAGA is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

May is the month of Mary

FATHER CHRISTOPHER LIGUORI writes that Catholics rightly honor Mary during May . . .

Fr. Christopher Liguori

Fr. Christopher Liguori

by Fr. Christopher Liguori

Isn’t it beautiful that we have a Mother in heaven who loves us, intercedes for us, treats each one of us as a cherished child, and always leads us to her Son?

Holy Church sets aside the entire month of May as Mary’s month. Traditionally during this month, statues of Mary are crowned with flowers. The new blooms on the trees, the evolving spring flowers, the song of birds, and the great surge of life within nature all speak to us of Mary, whose beauty is reflected deeply within it.

There are many beautiful Catholic traditions, such as building May altars, having May processions in honor of Our Lady, and crowning Our Lady as our queen. For some, these may just be memories from childhood, but they are practices which can bear rich fruit.

Perhaps you are blessed to belong to a parish where such celebrations still take place! In my parish school, children are delighted to participate in the crowning ceremony. The children who made their First Communion that year are also asked to wear their white clothes from that special day. All the children are encouraged to bring flowers and present them to Our Lady.

The heart of every Catholic should turn instinctively toward our heavenly Mother — especially during the month of May. It’s certainly a great comfort to meet the gentle presence of a mother on our spiritual journey, which for many is exhausting and fraught with difficulties, daily disturbances and unexpected trials.

Isn’t it true that with Mary, everything becomes easier? The weary, discouraged heart, disturbed by storms, finds new hope and strength, and continues the journey with fresh courage. Saint Josemaría Escrivá said, “Holy Mary is the Queen of peace. So when your soul or your family are troubled, or things go wrong at work, in society or between nations, cry out to her without ceasing.”

“If the winds of temptation arise,” sings St. Bernard, “if you run into the reefs of trials, look to the star; call upon Mary. In danger, sorrow, or perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary.” There are so many times, more than ever in today’s world, that we need her help, the help of Our Mother.

It’s only natural then that we begin our monthly Legatus chapter meetings by praying the rosary. It sets the tone for the spiritual aspect of our meetings and prepares us for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

There are many benefits of praying the rosary: It gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ; it purifies our souls, washing away sin; it gives us victory over all our enemies; it makes it easy for us to practice virtue; it sets us on fire with love of Our Lord; it enriches us with graces and merits; it supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow men; and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God.

During the month of May, why not make a resolution to put an image of Our Lady close by — perhaps on your desk at work. Then, throughout the day, glance at the image with a short aspiration such as, “Mary, guide me through the rest of the day,” to sanctify that very moment. Or why not begin a task that may seem tedious by first saying a “Hail Mary”? Then, instead of a burden, it becomes an offering.

Every morning, as I put on my crucifix and Miraculous Medal, I always say this prayer: “O Mary, my mother, I offer myself entirely to you. And to prove my filial affection, this day I consecrate to you my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart; in short, my whole being. And now, my good mother, as I am entirely yours, look after me and protect me as someone who belongs to you. Amen.”

Priests, by their very priesthood in Christ, have a unique relationship to Mary. From our vocational call to our ongoing ministry, Mary has a special role in our lives. May our Blessed Mother intercede with her son for all priests, but also that we may have more holy priests.

Mary comes to meet us during this month of May, to take us by the hand, to wrap us under her mantle, to initiate us into the secret of her interior life, which must become the model and norm of our own — especially as Legates striving to help meet the challenges of balancing the responsibilities of faith, family, business and community.

FR. CHRISTOPHER LIGUORI is pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Jacksonville, Fla., and co-chaplain of Legatus’ Jacksonville Chapter.