October 25, 2008 – Thank You …

Hi, this is Joe the Plumber (sorry, my lame attempt at political humor).  My Mom asked me the other day what they are going to talk about on the news once the election is over, and I said that they will jump right into the next election, because it seems like this campaign has lasted that long!  Alas, 10 more days and it will be over (for a while).

Normally when I sit down to write the blog I have to cram my brain to come up with an idea, but this week was an exception.  This week was a slam dunk, no-brainer, because this weekend is our appreciation weekend in our parish.  We thank all of our parishioners who support our parish with their time, talent and treasure.  Thank you to our children, especially those enrolled in our school and PSR program who energize our parish with their exuberance and thirst for knowledge.  Thank you to our high school and college age parishioners who have made the decision to continue their faith journey and provide witness to all of us.  Thank you to the Generation X’ers, who despite now having families of their own and bustling lives at home, still find time to graciously support our school and church.  Thank you to our middle-aged parishioners, who still answer the bell when we need anything even though they no longer have kids in school or in our educational programs.  Thank you to our “more experienced” parishioners – I have never been around so many people who give up so much of their well earned free time to help us in any way they can.  Thank you to our dedicated parish and school staffs – so many people who could easily go elsewhere for more pay, yet continue to champion the cause of our parish and the Catholic faith.  And to anyone I failed to mention, thank you so much for everything you give and do.  God Bless all of you!

This weekend is also recognized in our country as Priesthood Sunday, in which we celebrate the gift of the priesthood and say thank you to those men wh have dedicated their lives to the Lord and to their ministry.  I have been influenced by many wonderful priests.  Fr. Kribs was our pastor throughout my childhood and into high school.  His mission was the care of the church and school, always making sure that things were in order.  I never knew what name he was going to call me – it might be Bruce, or Brad, or on the rare occasion, my actual name Brian, but he always let me know how much he appreciated my faithfulness to the church, whether it was as a server or whatever the occasion was.  To this day, he still keeps up with what is going on in his beloved St. Mary’s Parish.

I had 2 priests who were religion teachers of mine in high school – Fr. Tom Stout and Fr. Andy Knopik.  They were more than just my teachers, they were people I could confide in through the complicated teen years.  They were also 2 of the biggest Cardinal fans I have ever met, and if there is ever a bond to draw people together, it is that.

Fr. Dennis came to St. Mary’s prior to my senior year.  I mean this in the highest regard – Fr. Dennis was the Energizer Bunny – he kept going, and going, and going.  I know there were so many times that he sacrificed his leisure time and many other things he would have liked to have done in order to stay caught up on the parish business.  He taught me the real importance of prayer and how it can impact your life, and that miracles come in small ways, not just in huge, impactful ways.  His contributions to our parish will never be forgotten.

Fr. Gene came to us 4 years ago.  I knew from the very beginning that our mutual loves of food and the Cardinals would allow us to have a great relationship.  His dedication to Catholic education has been a true blessing for us.  Whether it be a history lesson, or a good joke, I think we can all say we have learned something from Fr. Gene.  We appreciate all you do for us, especially throughout the past year which I know has been difficult.

The thing about these men and the other priests who have helped shape my life is that they were not just mass-sayers, or ministers, or guys who dressed in black.  They were true friends, people you could put your trust in, people who you knew had your best interest at heart, people who you wish you knew more of.  So thank you again to all of our priests for touching our lives in so many ways.

Do you have someone in our parish you would like to thank, or a priest who has touched your life in a special way?  Feel free to leave a comment.  Peace.

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