May 13, 2018
In November, the month Catholics remember and pray for the dead, a priest talks a lot about the four last things: death, judgment, (purgatory) heaven and hell. After a Sunday Mass a lady comes to him saying, “Thank you Father, I never knew what hell really was like until you came here!”
Well, the party is almost over! By now you may know that Fr. Albert and I are moving or being moved. I guess that happens for only one reason: Bishop McGrattan in his wisdom gives you a better team of priests as you deserve.
For almost eight years I’ve been with you, I have witnessed a lot of wonderful things you have done. Thanks be to God. You have moved the rectory from a senior living area to a regular residential zone which is much closer to the church for convenience’s sake. From the house I can observe what’s going on in and around the church. I can sneak out of the office and have a quick nap anytime! You have paid off the church mortgage 9 years earlier. It was a wonderful effort of all parishioners. Everyone should be proud of it. You have set up projectors and screens in the Faith Room and in the Hall for different functions in the parish. You have made a Baptismal Font with cameras and I have heard more and more praises of its beauty. You have built a family washroom by the entrance to the hall for all needs. You have set up a “Prayer Garden” and I often see our visitors taking pictures of it.
Those are great, but the greater is that you now identify yourselves as Holy Family members. You have left the past in the past and moved on in a new direction of unity. You have built much better relationships with the Catholic school district. You have enjoyed the presence of our schools, teachers and students in our Sunday Liturgy. You have also worked very well with St. Patrick’s. You have shared activities and resources with our Catholic neighbors. After all we are in the same Catholic and Apostolic Church. I have to credit the NET teams. For two years they were great instruments to unite us as members of the Catholic Church in the Hat.
The youth ministry has been going in a positive direction. St. Patrick’s and Holy Family Parishes provide a good environment for our young people. You can see it at their activities and at the Summer Bible Camp for kids from both parishes every year in July at St. Pat’s.
You have also set classes for our first Communion and Confirmation candidates before weekend Mass. That is a great opportunity for young parents to share life in our Sunday Liturgy. The Mass attendance increases big time whenever there are classes. Many volunteers have taught and helped our children, and for that I am thankful. You have agreed to let Fr. Albert and me meet with your kids individually before they receive the sacraments. It is a privilege for us as well as for them.
Maybe friendship is the only thing I have contributed into this parish. You can see a smiling priest every weekend greeting you at the doors. The young children come to church anxiously waiting to give a “high five” to the priest. Others just want to hug the priest after Mass. The elderly realize that their priest knows them well and cares for them when they are healthy at home or sick in the hospital. Most adults see their priest “approachable and available.” They find a friendly environment in the office area and consider the priest as a friend rather than a pastor. What is my reward after all these years? I got a hole in one last week, first ever in a golf game. Halleluiah!
HAPPY EASTER SEASON! ALLELUIA!