Fr. Albert Bunsic celebrated his 50th Anniversary of Ordination on Saturday, June 3, 2017.  The homily he delivered at his celebration Mass is below.



"The Homily That Took Fifty Years to Write" 

By Fr. Albert Bunsic, OCD  

If you are wondering why your life has turned out the way it has, just look at the CHOICES you have made!  Your life will go in the direction of the CHOICES you make.  Everything is a CHOICE!  We either choose to do something OR we choose not to do something... OR we choose not to choose.  But everything is a CHOICE!  

My parents made CHOICES, and the CHOICES that they made affected the CHOICES that I would make in my life.  My parents married civilly.  However, my paternal grandmother confronted my Mom and Dad three years after Fred and I were born and said, "Johnny, your boys are three years old and it is not right that your marriage is not blessed in the Church--AND you haven't had your boys baptized!  And you, Dorothy, MUST become a Catholic!  

Yes, it was a different time.  If my grandmother had done something like that today, people would tell her to take a "flying leap!"  But that CHOICE was an important one, because had they not made those CHOICES, we wouldn't be having this celebration today!  My grandmother took me under her wing and taught me about God and how to pray!  She wanted me to pray in Slovak.  I would tell her, "But I don't know what I'm saying, Grandma."  She would simply tell me, "We are thanking God for everything.  Just say what I am saying!"  

When I was 19 years old, I accepted a football scholarship to San Bernardino Valley Junior College in San Bernardino, California.  This was one of the most painful CHOICES I had made up to that time in my life.  The night before I was to leave, my parents and I argued through the night.  And when my ride arrived, my Dad's final words to me as I walked out the door were, "You leave this house,  you will never be welcome back!"  I left!  What a difficult CHOICE that was for both of us!  

One year later, I returned to Binghamton unannounced.  I called home and my Dad answered the phone--which he rarely did.  Our conversation:   

            "Hi, Dad! 

                 "Ed, where are you?" 

            "I am at Broome County Airport!" 

                 "I will be right there!"  

And he picked me up!  I discovered that it was as painful for my parents as it was for me to choose to leave home!  In July of 1957, I accepted another football scholarship to the University of San Diego.  If you want to make God laugh, tell Him that you have made plans for your life!  

Thoughts of marriage and family and priesthood began to compete in my mind and heart; and what a difficult CHOICE that was because it was an "either/or" CHOICE, not a "both/and" CHOICE.  How I came to make that CHOICE is still mysterious to me to this day!  The only priesthood that I knew was to become a "parish priest".  However, I met two diocesan seminarians, Ernie Nosari and John Dolan, who were discerning vocations with the Discalced Carmelites.  They invited me to come along with them to Oakville, California, and took care of my transportation, food, and lodging.  All three of us were accepted!  We entered the Discalced Carmelite novitiate on September 7, 1958.  My attitude was, "I am not just going to TRY it!  I am GOING TO stay until they tell me to leave!" 

Amazingly, both Ernie and John were both asked to leave before Christmas--not even six months!  I felt abandoned!  It was only later that I realized that God had used Ernie and John to bring me to the Discalced Carmelites.  We remained friends all our lives.   

My parents did not support my CHOICES!  It become very clear to me that not everybody is going to agree with your CHOICES.  Years later, my parents and I talked about how they disagreed with my CHOICES to become a Carmelite because they thought Carmelites were "hermits who live in community!"  They thought I was "wasting my life."  

My vocation was in three parts:  I was called to be a priest; I was called to be a Discalced Carmelite Priest; and I was called to be a Discalced Carmelite priest of the California/Arizona Province.  Here are some important dates that span the past 50 years:  

·         June 3, 1967: Ordained a priest at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. 

·         June 3, 1967, to November 30, 1968: Assigned to Oakville, California 

·         November 30, 1968, to September 12, 1969: Assigned to Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, Arizona 

·         September 12, 1969, to July 6, 1984: Assigned to Oakville, California, as Chaplain at the Christian Brothers  Retreat House for Students 

·         July 6, 1974, to June 8, 1980: Assigned to El Carmelo Retreat House in Redlands, California (had a heart attack on July 20, 1979) 

·         June 8, 1980, to July 6, 1984: Assigned to St. Therese Church in Alhambra, California (I was among the first non-Irish friars to be assigned to St. Therese, along with Fr. Nacho Bach and Fr. Stanley Poltorak.) 

·         1982: Conducted "Parish Renewal Weekends" to honor the death of St. Teresa of Avila 

·         July 6, 1984, to August 1, 1990: Appointed the Superior of Oakville, California 

·         August 1, 1990, to July 3, 1991: Took a Sabbatical in Washington, D.C. (supervised a ministry course in "spiritual direction") 

·         July 3,1991, to August 3, 1991: Went on a 30-day Retreat in Gran Cau Au, Louisiana 

·         August 12, 1991, to July 6, 1996: Appointed to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson, Arizona (Fr. Anastasio Font was diagnosed with terminal cancer) 

·         July 6, 1996, to August 12, 1999: Appointed Superior of Mount Saint Joseph Novitiate 

·         August 12, 1991, to June 1, 2002: Assigned to El Carmelo Retreat House 

·         June 1, 2002, to August 1, 2008: Appointed to St. Therese Church, Alhambra, California 

·         August 1, 2008, to July 14, 2013: Appointed to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson, Arizona (Fr. Philip Sullivan was the Pastor there at that time; Fr. Robert Barcelos and I were there when the Carmelites transferred St. Margaret Mary back to the Diocese of Tucson after 77 years of being run by the Discalced Carmelite Order). 

·         July 14, 2013, to present: Transferred back to St. Therese Church  

And I hope to remain at St. Therese until the end of my Journey! 

Thank you and God bless you all!