Before I head into the twilight and off to St. Simon Parish, I want to send one final note of gratitude to the parish. Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me as I celebrated my last weekend of Masses with you as your pastor. It was exhausting to celebrate all the Masses including all the Pilgrim Masses in the school courtyard, but I was glad I did it. I was able to celebrate with you one last time. I will say that yesterday was far “sweeter” than “bitter.”
I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy by your generosity in the gifts the staff shared with me. I absolutely love them and will enjoy looking through the photo album over and over again. I will treasure that “Icon of Christ” within which all our photos make up the image of Christ. It truly represents what Penny spoke of in her comments at the end of Mass, the tapestry of Holy Spirit Parish in the image of Christ. Our lives have been woven together in beautiful ways and our love for each other is forever intertwined. I love the new vestments and will proudly wear them in the months and years ahead. And I am so grateful to John and Sabrina Bland’s kind words in
along with the staff from Amigos for Christ. I am so deeply touched by the naming of the comedor at the new school in La Chuscada. I look forward to taking a joint group to Nicaragua whenever we are allowed to travel again.
Thank you for all your personal notes and gifts. I cherish your comments and I am delighted to hear that so many of you have deepened your friendship with Jesus in prayer each day and you will continue to do so in the days ahead. Thank you for waiting so long to say goodbye in the car-parade late into the evening. I was deeply touched by your patience and kindness. You are truly an amazing parish.
Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to my staff. They all did such a beautiful job in my send off. I especially want to thank Leah for her creativity in the Icon of Christ and the beautiful album, Renee for her hard work in coordination and Penny in masterminding such a surprise and her lovely remarks at the end of Mass; Fr. Edgar, Merry and Penny and most especially Jed & John for keeping the parish liturgies so beautiful and meaningful each week. Thank you to all the staff for all they have done over all the years and most especially these last weeks.
I ask you all to be as open to Fr. Ritche as you were to me; to support him as much as you supported me; to love him as much as you loved me. And I promise you that he will be as open, supportive and loving to you in return. You will thrive as a parish and the Lord will bless you all. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.