Pastor's Letter for the May 9, 2021 Bulletin

Congratulations to Fr. Bob who a week ago, on May 1st, observed his 45th Anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.  I feel a little embarrassed but grateful that one of his chief ways of celebrating that anniversary this past week was to be available to cover parish responsibilities while I participated (as the main organizer) in the annual Diocese of Steubenville priests retreat at a retreat center near Akron.  I’m continually grateful that Fr. Bob typically offers one or two of the weekend Masses each week and is there when I try to observe Fridays as a “day off.” It’s a tremendous blessing that we had that continuity of simply two pastors over 50 years with Msgr. Maher and Fr. Bob (with the parallel with Msgr. Yontz at Holy Trinity).  Again, thank you, Fr. Bob, for your continued generosity to all of us here at Christ Our Light Parish in Guernsey County.

The annual retreat is often for me a welcome transition point from a busier schedule in the late autumn through just after Easter, especially when we have a Confirmation year.  This year’s retreat has had that effect, too.  It was tremendous being able to have several days in a row of waking up without an alarm clock! I’m looking forward to being able to devote better attention to following up on requests and ministry – in addition to continuing to express gratitude to Pat Farley and Sue Sanders for their generous ministry in our parish as well. 

This past week was also Teacher (and Administrator) Appreciation Week throughout the country.  What a gift to encounter so many in our parish who have that gift of being educators, truly focused and enthusiastic (and persevering!) about handing on the spiritual gifts of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and counsel – truly focused on students ultimately “getting it” about various areas of study.  Education is so different these days not only because of the pandemic but also from trying to adapt to so many sources of knowledge and formation through mass media and social media. God bless!

More appreciation, of course, goes to our mothers and maternal figures in our lives, as we observe Mother’s Day this Sunday. 

I was blessed to have several on-going conversations with my own mother this past week, in part due to the passing of one of her sisters, my Aunt Reenie.  My mother was able to be there in Virginia supporting my aunt, my cousins and her family at the time of her passing.  It is bittersweet to have those circumstances.  My Aunt Reenie was a fun person to be with and had a genuine “southern hospitality” way of caring for us. That’s a side of maternal care everyone should all be able to experience.  That unconditional love and way of making you feel like you are always welcome and never a burden is a tremendous gift. 

May the Lord help us to experience the transforming power of God’s love and mercy!  May we all experience continued Easter Season blessings!