Thank you, again!
This concept of actually turning in the keys and walking away from the church building is, I guess, becoming a reality now. It will be such a big change, but I leave with the knowledge that I am leaving a family in which I am a part of. I thank God for that and it has been a privilege to serve you as the Father of that family. I have seen so many pray and pray before our Lord, Jesus, pursue learning our Catholic faith, and serve others so energetically in charity according to the ways of the gospel. God has given us His peace, His love and His joy, even as life goes on with all of its challenges.
On many Sundays, after the last person walked out to the parking lot, it would become very quiet and I would often pray in the pews thinking that this Sunday, as it has now ended, brings me a little closer to that last Sunday that will someday surely come. I know it seems like a less than happy thought, but I had to somehow emotionally and mentally prepare myself. It is not easy to leave such a great community and experience!
Now, there will be a new Father, Father Barnes, who I really believe will serve you well. He is a man of integrity and one who I could laugh with as well. We have had our laughs on the basketball court and in other places too. When I would pray about this day, I would think about how I would introduce him or speak of him. I would imagine saying, “He’ll have so many great ideas that I never even thought of!” I think that is quite true, actually. We all have different gifts to bring. It will take some time for both of us to settle into our new assignments, but they will indeed come forth in time.
I have one thing to share with you. I will be having surgery for prostate removal sometime this summer when I am at Chaska. There will be a recovery process afterward and my big request is that you pray that it be short. I guess I will get a sabbatical of sorts after all and God’s will be done. I will use the time of my recovery to pray and get to know the parishioners. It will be okay.
May God bless you all this summer and beyond I will miss you very dearly. Thank you again for all of the kindness and friendship that you have shown me. My parents do live in Monticello and I will visit them and find ways to at least stop in to pray.
Yours in Christ,