In many ways, March 17, 2020, marked a significant change in my life, my ministry to you, and my beloved parish. My worst nightmare was realized as I celebrated the Feast of Saint Patrick. That evening I knew that the pandemic would cause us to close the doors to our gathering for sacred Mass. I knew our planned baptisms and weddings would be placed on hold due to the closure. Even funeral Masses were halted, which placed a great strain on families who were grieving the death of a loved one.
At first, I felt that I would be handicapped by this absence of our gathering, but the spirit of the Lord gave us another way to reach out and deal with the fears and doubts that the pandemic cast upon our lives. The creation of Operation Safe Mode (OMS) allowed me to come into your home celebrating sacred Sunday Mass and sharing weekly messages of hope and teachings. We created a new focus on “Staying Safe in the Lord” while realizing we were being forged through this process into a deeper love of Christ and His Church!
As the pandemic began to slow via the availability of the vaccination, and all seemed to be returning to normal with the Sunday Mass attendance increasing weekly, I was then faced with another great personal challenge. I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Just when I thought the seas had calmed and my ministry would return to its original form, I would be challenged personally all the more to be the shepherd of such a great flock!
However, I refuse to allow a pandemic, cancer, or any other ailment to define our parish faith life. It can only be defined by love! The outpouring of love that has been shown to me in the past three months epitomizes the type of support and love we share in our mission of Hope in Christ!
I wanted to realize that through it all, our parish has continued to nourish the seeds of faith that have been planted, seeking to care for the spiritual and material needs of our entire
parish community. The good news in all of this is that the harvest has been bountiful! In fact, the support provided by you for me and all the faithful has been just remarkable. The pandemic or my diagnosis could not dampen our true love and faith in the Lord.
I want to sincerely thank you for all that you have given to our parish. Remember, your contributions keep this parish vibrant and impactful. Please remember your parish this year, and prayerfully consider increasing your stewardship so we can continue God’s work.
Yours in Christ,