Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rev. J. Robert Yeazel of the Syracuse diocese with the honorary title of Monsignor. Monsignor Yeazel, of Holy Cross Church in DeWitt and St. Mary's Church in Jamesville, is one of 11 priests to receive the honor this year.
Monsignor is a rank that was originally created back in the 14th century for clergy who actually did serve in the papal household, but has since been extended to honor clergy serving elsewhere in the world, said Bishop James M. Moynihan, from an excerpt in a letter to the diocese.
Bishops can nominate priests at any given time throughout the year. Those in the Syracuse diocese nominated by Moynihan were the first in 30 years.
[The rank] is less commonly used today in this country because we recognize that all priests serve their Lord and their people equally, Moynihan wrote.
Yeazel, a very kind and modest man, gives thanks and acknowledgment to his parishioners. "I'm certainly honored by the fact that the work that our people do at Holy Cross and St. Mary's is recognized. It's gratefully received," Yeazel said.
Reflections on the church's role in the country
"The atmosphere that exists in our world today is one of upheaval, a war, a lack of peace," Yeazel said. "I think that St. Augustine said it well when he said the only time we're going to find peace is when we find the Lord, and we'll only find happiness when we find the Lord. I think it's a search that we all have in our lives -- to find happiness."
In accordance with the vision of St. Augustine's, Yeazel also believes we're going to be restless, until people do [find the Lord].
The world today, Yeazel believes, has a self-sufficient, "I can do it myself" perspective -- an angle that doesn't necessarily need God in their lives.