We are still in the Thanksgiving weekend, so here goes round three.
I am most grateful in my present assignment with a wonderful, hardworking and supportive staff. In fact, except for a few rare occasions in the past, I have truly been blessed with men and women who have made my ministry as pastor in various parishes a great deal easier and who deserve the credit for my successes. My present staff continues to stand by me and work together for the enhancement of the parish family. For their love and concern and their dedicated service to the church, I am most grateful. Dealing with the public (even the church public) is not always easy. They do so with grace and love.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of so many people to me personally. Even this evening I went out to dinner by myself and the tab was picked up by a lady from a neighboring parish. This happens often, and I am amazed and truly gratified. People go the extra mile to be kind, and it makes life a whole lot nicer.
And finally, I am very grateful that we have four men who are being called to Candidacy at an evening mass in a neighboring parish tomorrow evening. These men are in our formation program for the Permanent Diaconate. Candidacy is the public ceremony where they declare before the bishop their intention to move toward Holy Orders. These four men (two of whom I have known for years, and one of whom is both a parishioner and a cousin of mine) have been caught up in the ongoing development of this formation program, with its changes and requirement challenges, some being in the program for eight years. I realize that the circumstances of this lengthy development is no ones fault, but I feel for these men. Finally, within the past two weeks came the Call to Candidacy which takes place tomorrow, and as of Friday, an announcement of dates for the two ministries and a potential date for Ordination as Deacons next June 13th, God willing. Of course, there is still the uncertainty of our new bishop to be, and his intentions, but we live in hope. Pray for these four men as well as the two Permanent Deacons that presently serve the Diocese, and the three men who will be ordained as priests next June 20th.