To my people at STA:
Pray for me that God may put his word on my lips,
That I may courageously make known the mystery of the Gospel.--Ephesians 6:19
When I first came to St. Thomas Aquinas I greeted all of you with my ordination card, and in the parish bulletin with these words from St. Paul. As I complete my first three years of priesthood, and my first assignment here at St. Thomas Aquinas, I again ask for your prayers through the words of St. Paul.
How can I describe my time here with the family at St. Thomas Aquinas? Three words: an absolute delight. It has been such a blessing for me to walk with all of you these last three years. They truly have been the best of my life. I thought seminary was fun, but parish life is so much better.
Of course there have been times of difficulty and sorrow with family crises, sufferings, funerals, and visiting folks in the hospitals. There have also been moments of exultation and joy at Baptisms, Weddings, First Communions, Confirmations, the High Holy Days of the year, with the youth, and in countless gatherings and celebrations. Without question my greatest satisfaction outside celebrating the Holy Mass with you has come in getting to know so many of you personally. I am so thankful for the generosity, faith, and love that you have all shared with me. You have let me into your hearts and homes and I am richly, eternally blessed for the experience.
When I first entered the seminary and met so many extraordinary men preparing for Holy Orders, I thought, “I will never again be in the company of such fine Christians.” Oh heavens how wrong I was! You, the people of God, are absolutely astonishing. Your faith, hope, love, and beauty are of divine origin. I see the goodness, beauty, and brilliance of God in you. So clearly. You reflect and magnify the perfections of the Almighty. You overwhelm me. I love you so much. What more can be said? It’s no wonder God loves you so, and sent His Son to bleed and die to save you (and me); you are so lovable. It has been an indescribable privilege so serve you, weak sinner though I am.
It’s been great to be a priest here at STA! My time here has thoroughly confirmed me in my vocation. In my heart I truly do not understand why vast bands of men are not storming the seminary gates seeking formation for Holy Orders. This is such a great life. Who wouldn’t want to spend his life loving and serving Jesus Christ in and through His Bride the Church, particularly when it’s with people like you? I can’t think of any other life for me.
I am so grateful to the staff here at St. Thomas Aquinas. As most of you know, we are greatly blessed with extraordinary people on our parish staff. Each one radiates Christ and makes Him present in our midst. Similarly, words can hardly express my gratitude to Fr. Dave. Day in and day out he is a tireless, gentle, kindly servant in our midst. I don’t need to tell you how he pours himself out for this parish, and he has been endlessly patient and generous with me. Keep Fr. Dave and the whole staff in your prayers.
I began praying for all of you long before I came to St. Thomas Aquinas. I have been praying for you while I have been here. Just as St. Paul asked the Ephesians for prayers, I ask for your prayers as I take up the duties of Pastor at St. Joseph, Adrian. I leave you with words from St. Theresa of Avila, which sum up my spirituality, and as my final homily to you:
The important thing is to love much;
Do then whatever most arouses you to love.