This fall has brought us two deaths and two staffing changes that I want to share with you.
The deaths you are no doubt aware of by now. Father Dick Ward, who served here as parochial vicar in the l990’s, and later returned in his very active retirement, went home to God on October 4, full of years and full of grace. I could never begin to calculate the number of lives Father Ward touched by his gentle, humble ministry. He was one in a million. We will celebrate his funeral Mass on Saturday, November 6 at 11:00am. All are welcome.
Kathleen McCabe who served for many years as our Director of Faith Formation died very suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday, October 17. Those of us who knew Kathleen and worked with her – and in a special way all the members of the RCIA community and many young couples preparing for marriage – are reeling from this loss – as are, of course, her husband, Jerome, and their son, Maurice. Kathleen was a loving, caring, welcoming presence to everyone she met, and she left her mark on the lives of countless people. We will celebrate her funeral on Friday, November 12 at 6:30pm and, again, all are welcome to attend.
And now for the staffing changes. One is difficult and one is very happy. The difficult one is that Rosanne Michaels who, for about twenty years, has been an important part of our parish’s faith formation team, has decided it is time to step away. I understand Rosanne’s decision and fully support it, but like any of you who know her, it’s very hard to see her go. I am immensely grateful to Rosanne for the loving, caring, compassionate presence she has brought to everything she has done and to everyone she has met, be it in the Welcome Back program, adult Confirmation, the parish’s grief support group, parish retreats, personal counseling, and on and on it goes! To say that we will miss Rosanne is a great understatement, but we are happy that she will have more time to take care of herself and continue with her important ministry of spiritual direction. Rosanne, I hope you know what a mark you have made on the lives of countless people in our parish over the years and what a gift you are to me and to many. So many people have seen in you the loving face and compassionate presence of Christ!
The happy change is the return to our staff of John Simpson, who left us six years ago. He has been an important part of the ministry of faith formation at St. Vincent de Paul parish in Federal Way. John will be leading our baptism ministry, Welcome Back, and Adult Confirmation. John brings with him a rich experience in these areas from many years of ministry both here at St. James and, prior to his embracing the Catholic faith, in the Covenant Church. Those of you who know John will share my joy that he has returned to St. James. Welcome home, John!
Father Michael G. Ryan