I begin humbly believing my circle of friends has increased since I wrote my last bulletin article.
One of my big fears when thinking about the seminary and priesthood was that I am not a gifted writer. In those early days of contemplation I expressed this fear to a close friend. He said do not worry the church needs you more than you need them. Not sure that was a consolation. But here I am a few years later and I humbly rely on others to feel free to edit my thoughts, spellings and vocabulary.
I have been humbly writing thoughts and reflections for some time now. I never gave a name to my column like many of my peers have. A name…necessary, important or can it just be a greeting like a letter to a longtime friend? Of course who writes letters today? I do not remember my last letter though like so many I do write emails. But, having been brought up by my parents, I still write thank you cards and appreciate recognizing the handwriting of family and friends when I receive a card or note.
So, a new time begins where I’ll try to write something worthy of your reading for the Church of the Transfiguration and all my faithful from Saint Catherine of Siena.
I spoke last weekend about the Gospel of Mark and the story of Jesus saying let’s cross to the other side. I mentioned many things about my personal life but emphasized how now was the time for our two faith communities to cross over to the other side. We are now two clustered parishes, two separate parishes but with one pastor. (Please pray for the pastor) Natural question may be why? I said with my belief, because Jesus is asking us to do so.
We, now I, have two wonderful vibrant faith communities who are Gospel oriented. We are embracing two communities that are enlivened by the life of Jesus Christ. We have nothing but endless possibilities to bring Kingdom as we know it, Kingdom as we are called to be and Kingdom we are to discover for the fruitfulness of all our sisters and brothers.
Last Sunday I was so pleased to be part of the testimony given for Father Michael Bausch! So many good words of honor and so many words of pronounced humor as well. It was a grand tribute to Fr. Mike.
I’d like to share a few of Mike’s words from his final bulletin article. The following reflected on his arrival as pastor at Transfiguration in 2002.
Mike said “Some questioned if anyone could replace our founding pastor, Fr. Gerald Appelby. I did not come thinking I could replace Jerry; rather I was here to build on what he and the community had begun in 1983.” Mike also said “I try hard to stay true to the Gospel, the Social Teachings of our Church and I try to respect other people’s positions. I can only pray that we all realize the Church has long arms and we should embrace each other as Jesus did in His ministry.”
I believe this has been my goal as well. I build upon the good legacy of those I follow. Jim Lawler is my hero and inspiration. I was honored to follow him after his retirement from Saint Catherine of Siena. I knew Jerry Appleby from the git go as I was a newly ordained at Saint John of Rochester and heard him ask “will you give me your shoes” as he began a new faith community. And, I have been blessed to be alongside Mike as a faithful pastor for my 14 years in Mendon.
It’s a new week. It’s a new moment of grace for me and hopefully all of you. I pray for your patience and understanding as I embrace this new spread in my life. For example, last Sunday I met a gentleman as I tried to push my chair out of a tight space at Fr. Mike’s reception as we were going to applaud him with a standing ovation. His chair tipped over because of me. Oops. Didn’t mean for that to happen. But it gave us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to one another! Now... isn’t that how grace works?
So, sisters and brothers, I go forth with you by the grace of God.
Let’s keep close to the Lord and one another. I have heard it said, “be all you are meant to be and you’ll set the world on fire” and “Lord it is good for us to be here.” Catherine of Siena and Peter have set us in good direction.
Know I am humbled and honored.
Blessings to all,
June 27, 2021