Thank you very much for all of the birthday greetings I have received this week. It’s enjoyable to me to share this birthday week with others, including Pat Farley, our DRE, on September 6th and Fr. Bob, on September 9th. Happy Birthday to them as well!
As you might have heard already, for me this week’s birthday has been an especially enjoyable one. I formally qualified for the Denny’s and Bob Evan’s “Golden Menu” discounts! It is especially hard for me to fathom this because it seems that it was barely a blink of the eyes ago that I was still being carded!
Being a milestone birthday like this has given me opportunities to reflect on life and ministry as well. I will write about some of those reflections in more details in the upcoming weeks.
I have been especially grateful to be here in Guernsey County for a couple of reasons. On one hand this has been an ideal first experience as a pastor because of the foundations established here in our parish by so many different people. This includes the generations of families here that have built the foundations of the parish – in all four (including the original St. Patrick’s parish in Old Washington) of the parishes that are the historical roots of our current county-wide Christ Our Light Parish – by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, whose continuous service and presence since 1911 has provided an important continuity that few parishes have. Our many pastors have likewise guided us through the ups and downs of our county’s history.
On the other hand, I have had a unique sense of destiny for being here in Guernsey County. In my first pastor’s letter in the first week of July 2014 I noted the following:
“I also have great peace and excitement about Christ Our Light Parish being my first opportunity to serve as a pastor in part because of an experience I had when I was in 7th grade. At that time my family lived in Minnesota and we would travel during the summer to visit grandparents in Florida and then other relatives along the East coast and in southern Indiana. As we were driving from Virginia westward on I-70 on our way to the Cincinnati area, I distinctly remember how impressive the Middlebourne valley here in Guernsey County was to me. I remember looking out the window of our family van as we swept down into that valley, prompted to look in the road atlas to see where we were. Then, seeing that we were in eastern Ohio getting close to I-77, I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what it would be like to live here.’ Little did I know that one day I would be here serving as pastor of the parish in this very area! Again, that has given me a sense of destiny and of the hand of the Lord on this opportunity to serve here.”
Again, thank you for celebrating this birthday with me, with Pat, and with Fr. Bob!
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!!