From the desk of Fr Stephen
As a Redemptorist of 40 years, I have been stationed in nine different cities. As you can imagine, when you move to a different location, there is a feeling-out process that happens. It happens with me, but it also happens with the people with whom I minister. Whenever I received a new assignment, I had to prepare myself for the next chapter in giving Glory to God. The people to whom I am sent also prepare themselves. They may utter things like, “I wonder what this guy is going to be like?” or “I sure hope he is not like so and so when he was here.” The process, in other words, works both ways. We wonder about the congregation and the congregation wonders about us.
It has been three years now since I first arrived. However, some may recall, I spent six months here back in 1983 after graduating from college. It was the best summer experience as a student! Some of it was because of the folks in the pews, but some of it was also the sharing with my Redemptorist confreres. At the time, Fr Wirth was the Pastor. He taught me history in high school, and so I knew him very well. He was a delight to live with, and I am sorry we lost him at only 69 years old. Fr Corbett, Bro Dan and Fr Polek were also living here. I had never laughed so much in my life than when sitting around the dinner table.
I mention these things today because time marches on for all of us. This past year has been challenging, but we have all shown a resilience we never knew we had. Consequently, though, we have had too many funerals lately. We have been reminded all too often on TV of the many who suffer and die all around us. But we can and must persevere. Since my arrival, I have been very impressed and grateful for the love and support I have received from you. All of us Redemptorists want to thank you for your love as we go about our ministry here. But it is more than a ministry, isn’t it? Wherever I have gone the Redemptorist charism has shown forth, but it is reflected to us in every way. I want to thank you again, on behalf of my Redemptorist brothers, for your undying love.
In this past year, we also have seen some of our Redemptorist brothers move away. Both Bro Terry and Fr Polek were here for a very long time. They were here so long, in fact, and so well connected to the very nature of the parish, that there is hardly a day that goes by that people aren’t asking about how they both are doing. Bro Terry has recovered from his fall. He is hobbling around a bit but is “up and at ‘em,” as they say. He brings much life to St Clement's. Fr Polek is also doing much better. He is at St. Clement's and recovering. Because of his age, I seriously doubt he will live here again, but you never know. Both have left such a mark here, never to be seen again!
As we move into Black History month, let all of us together continue to carry the message of Jesus Christ to all we encounter.