Farewell, Fr. John, from the Rector

June 6, 2024

Vea en espanól

My dear parishioners and friends,

Five years ago I participated in the diocesan ordinations to the priesthood at the Basilica of the National Shrine—such a special occasion. I was told that one of the newly ordained priests would be sent to the Cathedral. I got my letter with the announcement of our new Parochial Vicar: John Benson, a member of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Who was this newbie?

An Outstanding Parochial Vicar

Fr. John Benson has been an outstanding Parochial Vicar. How to describe him? Energetic (yes, just like that energizer bunny), prayerful, speaker of perfect Spanish, developer of our livestream system, great leader of teens and young adults, producer of outstanding bilingual liturgical programs, a force within our Social Justice work coordinated by Ricardo Tobar, meticulous master of ceremonies for our liturgies—and knowledgeable about almost anything! Of course, if he really needs a little help, he has his trusty iPhone handy! This only touches the surface.

Our "extra" year

Fr. John's talents were apparent early on. I knew I had a winner. A newly ordained priest usually stays four years in his first assignment. Last year I asked Cardinal Gregory if Fr. John could remain here another year; I am so grateful for that extra year! The archdiocese does not have a full-time Director of the Office of Worship, so Fr. John assumed many of those tasks for Cathedral liturgies, as well.

Special thanks

I want to relay a special word of thanks to Fr. John from our Spanish-speaking community. He was always there for them—for weddings, baptisms, quinceañeras, hospital visits, funerals, and more. He was there for Fatima Aybar, to help her as she coordinated the Spanish Faith Formation activities. For years, it has been Fatima who has known all of our Spanish-speaking parishioners. With Fr. John’s arrival, they formed a real team. Many weeks we have seen the 1pm Sunday Spanish Mass as the best-attended weekend Mass. Participation has steadily grown.

Fr. John truly has been here for all of us, and in a special way for Fr. Jack and me. Fr. John, we will miss our morning updates from the Vatican!

Named Administrator of MD Parish

Cardinal Gregory has seen what an outstanding young priest we have in Fr. John Benson. He has been named Administrator of St. John Vianney Parish in Prince Frederick, MD—one of the most vibrant parishes in the archdiocese. And it is in Southern Maryland, where I grew up in Charles County. He will not simply maintain the parish but will lead it to new heights.

Congratulations, Fr. John!

Fr. John, congratulations! And thanks so very much for ALL you have done for ALL of us here at St. Matthew's. I am sure your phone will be ringing: "Fr. John, HELP! We have a question ...." And I am sure that we will all get to know more about Prince Frederick, Southern Maryland, Calvert County, and St. John Vianney. The best to you. God bless. We will indeed miss you! Muchas gracias!

—Msgr. Jameson

Farewell celebrations June 23

Save the date for Fr. John's farewell celebration after the 9am, 11am, 1pm and 5:30pm Masses on June 23 - the date of his last Sunday Mass here as Parochial Vicar! More to come, including news of Fr. John's successor at St. Matthew's.

The Parish Pastoral Council hosted a farewell dinner for Fr. John Benson and Maureen Hurley in early June - a fun evening!