Father Al’s 50 Years of Priesthood: “Not like the Academy Awards”

“People who know me well know that I have a big fat ego that would enjoy having a big celebration in my honor. But sorry, ego, the party can’t possibly be about you!”

On Saturday, the community celebrated Fr. Albert Holtz, O.S.B. and his 50 years of priesthood with a Mass and luncheon.

Although Fr. Al’s 50 years of priesthood sounds like an amazing feat, Fr. Al says otherwise.

“It’s not like the Academy Awards,” he said. “It’s more like (when) you win the lottery and you throw a big party for other people. I just feel so blessed, so I want everyone to share it with me.”

During the Mass, Fr. Al’s sermon focused on the vocation of every person in the church.

“What is it in us that makes us say, ‘your ideas are different from mine; therefore, I must kill you,’” he said. “That is not church—we ought to become the bread of promise for all the people in the world.”

He also reminded the community that “the Lord is supporting you and your vocation, as well, which is basically the same as mine: to build up the Body of Christ.”

Mass attendees included members of Fr. Al’s family, monks of the Newark Abbey, students and faculty of St. Benedict’s Prep, and people from different parishes that Fr. Al has served.

“We wanted to make sure everything was meaningful,” said Br. Asiel Rodriguez, O.S.B, who played a part in organizing the celebration.

Br. Asiel wanted everyone who is important to Fr. Al to be involved in the celebration.

During the Mass, Sr. Regina Holtz, Father Al’s sister, read the readings, along with Br. Patrick from Newark Abbey. Kids from Fr. Al’s extended family brought the gifts up. And students and faculty took charge of the music and singing.

The younger members of the monastery planned for most of the celebration.

“The Mass had so many details,” said Br. Asiel. “We wanted everyone to be invited. We had to come up with RSVP cards and invitations. I had to design them online.”

After the Mass, the celebration continued with a luncheon at the SBP cafeteria.

“Benedictines are well known for throwing a party, so we had to have good food and wine,” said Br. Asiel.

Br. Simon Peter Clayton, O.S.B., served as master of ceremonies. The luncheon came to a close with a tribute video for Fr. Al that focused on his role as priest and monk, friend and teacher, at the monastery and school. Students from The Benedict News produced it.

“He (Fr. Al) had no clue the video was happening,” said Br. Asiel.

The video contained interviews of Fr. Al’s sister, faculty members, SBP students, and monks.

“I’m sure he was extremely happy,” said Br. Asiel. “I could see it in his face.”