Final thoughts from Our Pastor ~ June 26, 2016

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

As you know this bulletin goes to the printer nearly a week before it is distributed at Mass, so there are still a lot of good-byes to come between me writing this and you getting it.

I’m not sure how to begin to thank you for 14 years. We certainly have filled our days with a lot going on and have grown together as a family. Thanks for being such a good family.

A lot of people have been asking what are the highlights for me. There have been many. That year that a few thousand of you turned out for our picnic/150th anniversary celebration with fireworks was definitely one. I remember almost as fondly Masses with the mid-construction folding chairs facing the altar in front of the cry room, as our beautiful church today. Some of you may not agree, it was the hottest summer on record and not a lot of air conditioning. Certainly the night we celebrated the dedication of our new altar in the newly-renovated church with Bishop Loverde was a profoundly important moment for us and a most beautiful memory.

I think our process with the Stewardship Committee, creating a new charter for growing leadership in the parish and promoting collaboration was an important  moment. It has something unique to our parish, and led to so many of you—600?—to the Called and Gifted Workshops seeking to become intentional disciples. Listening to you speak about how that program has changed your life, spiritually and socially, has been very satisfying. One of the first things I will do at Saint Bernadette is see if there might be a core of parishioners who will come to the Saint Mary Called and Gifted Workshop in August. The work continues!

And every time I witness our soon-to-be young men and women graduate from Holy Cross Academy I am reminded of all that is good about our mission to educate and form our community, especially in these recent years as I have watched some of them grow from our Preschool through eighth grade. I am grateful for such generous and committed families who allow us to work with them in helping to bring God’s life of grace alive in their children.

I remember our first Parish Council meeting. Our first Ice Cream Social Cakewalk and Dance. Our first Parish Night Out. All those great parish trips, especially being able to introduce you to the Holy Land several times. Of course, there were plenty rough times, too—which have allowed us to continue to grow. That line I quoted in my homily last weekend stays with me: to live Calvary never doubting Easter is the devotion of a true disciple.

Next weekend we welcome Fr. John Mosimann and newly-ordained Fr. Colin Davis. Time for some fresh air and new ideas, and an experience of someone else’s spiritual journey, to journey together. Pope Francis continually challenges us to focus on the journey together, not so much on the details of the road, but where and how we are going together. To provide guidance and support for each other as the journey continues.

Thanks in advance for the beautiful reception at Holy Cross Friday night. For the many gifts I’ve already received from Holy Cross Academy, our Parish Staff, and many of you who have made me feel so appreciated as a member of this parish family. Thanks to you, my brothers and sisters in ministry here in the parish who have been involved in so many things over the years, working together, and in all the churches of Fredericksburg who have become dear friends and taught me how to be co

Most of all I want to thank the finest parish staff, a privilege to work with. All of them pastoral, caring people who are dedicated to their work and a few who really stand out: Our good Sisters whose presence and spirituality have defined the school and much of the parish in our daily life; David and the beauty and prayer that he helps us realize in liturgy; our priests; Elaine, the best bookkeeper in the diocese; Leo and our youth program, and Karen and the way she cares so much for our young people in Religious Education; above all, Rick, whose faith and support have carried me through difficulty and sometimes doubt, and who has worked harder for God than anyone I’ve ever known.

Peace to all of you, I plan to see you around.

God bless you.

Fr. Don