Father Chester Raimer is a good friend and one of the priests of our diocese. He has served at Saints Simon and Jude Parish for over twenty one years and done a wonderful job in so many ways. He will be retiring for reasons of health on June 25th.
Yesterday afternoon the parish family threw him a party to express their appreciation as well as their sadness at his leaving them. I was able to attend for a short while, and witnessed the love and affection that his people have for him and his ministry to them. There were many tears, both from Father Chet as well as from the men and women, boys and girls, who will miss him. The various groups and individuals active in the parish provided refreshments galore and a spirit of welcome. While I was there a local minister and his wife stopped to see Chet and offer best wishes. This is the way Church should be, this is what parish family is all about.
I know from personal experience that, apart from the attachments and friendships that are formed, you really never know how your ministry in a parish touches the lives of people. This expression of appreciation, given so freely and lovingly to Chet yesterday, is a gift of the Church to a good priest who has served them well. Thanks, Chet ... and thanks, Blairsville.