Rev. John P. Connery, OSFS
August 21, 1966
August 21, 1969
June 5, 1971
Faculty, Bishop Ireton High School, Father Judge High School, Salesianum School; Chief of Chaplains, VA Medical Center.
What is your present ministry?
Chaplain – St. Francis Medical Center – Wilmington, DE
What living person most reflects the joy of the Gospel for you?
Certainly Pope Francis does. In fact, according to Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, we are called to receive and reflect the joy of the Gospel – “no one is excluded.”
Pope Francis is a Jesuit who chose the name of St. Francis of Assisi. Some have said he pastorally resembles St. Francis de Sales. What is Salesian about Pope Francis?
I think anyone who is truly christian could be said to resemble St. Francis de Sales; certainly in qualities like these: being genuine, patient, empathetic, respectful of others, cheerful, hopeful (optimistic), and focused on the well-being of others – especially the poor.
What is your favorite dimension of being an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales?
The great pride I take (mea culpa!) in being a member of this wonderful group of men; all the while remaining optimistic that some wonderful things may rub off.
How do you think Salesian gentleness can make a difference in our world?
Salesian gentleness is not weakness. Salesian gentleness requires true strength. This true “christian strength” has always conquered.
What is the most recent book you read? Would you recommend it?
The Miracle of Father Kapaun, written by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying. This is a story of a priest, soldier, prisoner of war, and Korean War hero. A military chaplain who was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor and is now being considered by the Vatican for Canonization. It is a well written, amazing story that I would recommend (but be forewarned, it is not for the squeamish).
Name an Oblate who taught you an important lesson that has remained with you. What did he teach you?
There was an Oblate who taught me a great lesson. I won’t say who, but he taught me what a powerful thing support can be when it is given and what a devastating thing it can be when it is withheld.
What advice could you give to a young person interested in religious life?
Be sure you really understand what religious life is, and be sure you really want it for yourself. If you find it to be a good marriage, it can be a wonderful life.
How do you think religious life serves the church and world in a way that is unique from our brothers and sisters who are single, married, or diocesan priests?
I think every individual has the ability to serve the Church in a unique way. As a religious, I feel that my freedom is one of my greatest assets. I am free to serve in ways that some others are not, and I feel I can focus my attention in ways that some others cannot.