Today's event took place at the Bishop Connare Center, our diocesan conference center in Greensburg, and my new home in retirement. It was a great event.
Bishop Malesic led us in prayer and broke open God's Word in his usual, pastoral way. He spoke of the ministry and responsibility to respond to God's gift to us with the sharing of our blessings with the Church. As I sat in the Saint Joseph Chapel and prayed today, I was keenly aware of the sacrifice of so many in the building of this place (which was my High School Seminary residence) and the support given to me in my journey toward priesthood. What little I can give in return is inadequate in expressing my gratitude, but those who sacrificed over the years have my prayers and my deepest thanks.
Our crowd today was small (a Thursday, early afternoon event is difficult for those who work) and I was a little disappointed with the turnout. But then I reflected that this was my first time in attendance at such an affair (I was usually too busy or uninterested to attend), and that I should not be overly critical.
And then another thought occurred to me. I do not need to be "thanked" for my support or the sharing of my gifts, but there is another need - a need for the Church, through our bishop, to extend thanks for generous love and support. The presence of those here today brings a visible component to the grateful commitment to the work of the Church. And the prayers that we offer go out to all of those who through the living out of their faith, in their life of love and service, and in their generous support of the Church, have sacrificed much. We have all been blessed ... and our response in whatever way and at whatever level, is our natural response.