June 26 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I feel like one of those radio or television news anchors that are signing off for the last time before they retire! People have asked what will I will miss most after retirement? I can think of many things, one that particularly comes to mind is writing a weekly column or bulletin article. Of the over 40 years that I have been a priest, 29 of those years I served as a pastor. In those parishes, I faithfully wrote a weekly bulletin article. Sometimes it was to share information about something going on in the parish. Sometimes it was to acknowledge and thank parish volunteers and staff. Other times it was to reflect on the scripture readings of the day. And sometimes it was meant to challenge you!
The articles were always known as “From the Pastor’s Desk” but the fun was to give it a sub-title based on the names of my dogs. My first pastorate was at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bensenville. I had a mixed-breed Lab at the time named “Sparkie-Therese-Enid”. Two nuns at my previous parish where I got the dog, Sr. Therese and Sr. Enid didn’t like my dog. So I said she needed a baptismal name which would be Therese, and a confirmation name which would be Enid. So the subtitle of the article when I became pastor was “Sparkie Speaks!” My years as pastor at St. Michael in Wheaton, St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville, and when I first came here, I had a beagle-mix named “Heidi”. My bulletin article became known at “Heidi Howls!” So how did Chardonnay get her named? After Heidi. Heidi had extreme separation anxiety when I would leave and she couldn’t come with. She would carry-on whining and howling. I would tell her to stop it or I would re-named her Chardonnay because she whined so much. So in memory of Heidi, Chardonnay got her name and the play on the word whine and wine defines us both!
So a final word of profound thanks to all the parishioners, staff, religious women, volunteers, deacons and priests I have had the honor to minister to and serve with over the past 40 years and 8 months, I thank God for the gift you have been to me! Your unconditional love and support, and sometimes challenging me, has been a blessing.
Please pray the following prayer for priests:
“O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priest laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priest; for Your lonely and desolate priests: for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory. But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priest at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priest who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. Jesus keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.
Please keep me in prayer, as I will you –