Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Kind Words

     The "winding down" aspect of retirement is challenging.  It involves a series of "lasts" and an emotional roller coaster that leaves you exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. 

     This past Friday was our last day of classes for our Regional Catholic School, and following dismissal, the teachers from Queen of Angels gathered for an end of the year lunch.  Of course, they invited me, and had a cake to celebrate my retirement.  We ate, reflected upon these past years with their blessings and challenges, and prepared to go into vacation mode.  They shared a kind gift as well as the cake, and I am grateful.   My last duties were to sign a last batch of checks, turn in my key fob for the building, and promise to hold the school dear to my heart.

      On Saturday morning I had the delight to welcome Bishop Robert Lynch, retired Bishop of St. Petersburg and a blogger for many years, to our parish.  The circumstance was a sad one, the death of a longtime friend and co-worker at the Bishops Conference - William Kassane.  Originally from this area, Mr. Kassane's family brought him home for his funeral.  The Bishop celebrated the funeral liturgy, and true to my expectations, ministered to those in grief with the heart of a shepherd.

     I have for a long time been a fan of Bishop Lynch, and in the blogging world he is one of my heroes.  He is a delightful man, warm, personable, very kind in his praise and encouragement, and a true pastor.  We spoke of retirement a bit and he gave me words of encouragement.

     Sunday was Pentecost, one of my favorite feasts in the Church year.  The parish had set this day to celebrate my retirement with the 11:00 am Liturgy and a wonderful reception in the parish hall during the afternoon.  The committee did an outstanding job, and the many who attended enjoyed themselves.  I was busy greeting friends and parishioners from 12:15 to 4:00 without a break.  I was truly humbled by the outpouring of affection and love, and the many kind words spoken and written in cards and notes.  It  makes me keenly aware of the need of God's grace and the working of the Lord in our lives despite ourselves.  My gratitude is immense, and it begins with the Lord.  To Him be all the praise!

     Everyone asks "When is the last day?"  The truth is that we are waiting for the Diocesan Priests Summer Assignments to find out the moving date.  So we don't know ... but will soon, I hope.  Until then we continue and we wait with expectant hope.

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