Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praised be Jesus Christ!
When God unexpectedly called me to Saint Odilia two years ago as the associate pastor, I knew that my time with you would be limited, so I sought to make the most out of it with you. I am amazed and inspired by this community; its strength, its growth, its prayer and passion. While I have been ministering here at St. Odilia, I have been actively discerning a call to the religious life. In dialogue with my spiritual director and the Archbishop, I have been given permission to explore religious life further and will be given that opportunity to pursue this call beginning July 1 of this year.
I am grateful for Fr. Rask’s leadership and support as I continue to learn how to live the priesthood worthily and well. I admire the staff for always being encouraging to live as a cheerful giver. And last but not least, I am thankful to our community! It has been a great blessing to have been invited into your homes and lives, serving both Latino and English-speaking communities through the faith formation programs, the School, and RCIA. The family atmosphere, the sorrows and the joys, and most importantly praying together have been very formative and treasures that will remain deep in my heart. If you saw any virtue in me, it was only because of my relationship with Jesus. And as St. Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
This new calling comes with a mixture of emotions… and feels like a pruning! I am reminded that a priest is not his own, and as Psalm 127 says, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build.” To build God’s Kingdom, Archbishop Oscar Romero states, “We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.” I am very sad to leave such a blessed and vibrant community, but I know I am simply an instrument for God’s presence. “Let us not boast about human beings,” says St. Paul, “for everything belongs to [God] through you…you belong to Christ, and Christ to God” (1 Cor. 3:21-23). It brings me consolation to know I can meet you all in prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist!
Again, it has been a great joy and privilege to serve you all. Please know of my continued prayers as we journey together into communion with Jesus. Until I see you next, I will meet you in the Eucharist.
As St. Peter, our first Pope, advised and instructed the nascent Church to trust in God’s loving protection and power, it is his solemn address I leave with you today: “Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for:
God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7)
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness…Man was created for greatness - for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched… This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined.” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 33)
Jesus is Alive! Alleluia!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.