Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
As a preacher I am seldom short on words. In fact, I once heard someone say about preachers, “they come in a gaseous state and expand to fill all available space” ...how true. But on this occasion, I find it hard to find the right words to express all that the parishioners of The Rock mean to me. As I was coming through the seminary it was popular to change “ministering to...” to “ministering with...”. That has certainly been my experience at The Rock. I have been the recipient of ministry as much as I have ministered to others. Not just in times when I needed special prayers, as when we lost my nephew, but throughout my time here.
I arrived at The Rock at a very fortunate time. It was a time of tremendous growth and excitement here at the corner of Cook & Grand. And you welcomed me in as part of the family. While I was blessed to have Fr. Maurice, Mother Dorothy, (then) Sr. Renee and the rest of the staff to guide me as I struggled to “step” down the aisle and in so many other things, it was the parish community that truly became my teacher. So many of you pulled me aside and “told me the truth” about this or that. And when I put my foot in my mouth, you offered me forgiveness, as well as, guidance. You allowed this very white boy from Jefferson County to walk with you on sacred ground, and it has truly been a blessing. A blessing that has changed my life in so many ways, but none more important than my spirituality. You have helped my relationship with Jesus grow in ways I had not thought possible. And for that, there are no words.
Know that you will always have a special place in my heart and in my prayers. I look forward to hearing great things happening here at The Rock. St. Louis is my home and so I will always have reasons to visit, and opportunities to join you for worship. I know that you will continue to support Fr. Steve and all the Redemptorists who come to join you at the corner of Cook & Grand, to minister “with” you and to praise God with joyful hearts. For as you keep sending those praises up, God’s blessings will continue to rain down.
In the Redeemer,
P.S. I look forward to seeing all of you at the luncheon on Saturday and my final mass on Sunday. God bless!!!