You are very
dear to my heart. It is time to say good bye and a Big thank you for the way
you welcomed me and my family into your lives for these past 7 years. When I
arrived here as your new pastor I did not know you and you did not know me and
probably wondered what kind of a man and priest are we getting. We learned to
love one another and grow together in the practice of our faith. I had the privilege
to follow Fr. Bill Kiel whom you loved and who served you faithfully and then I
had the honor to bury him in our cemetery and host his family for the memorial
Mass with our Bishop in attendance. I pray for him and frequently ask him to intercede
for our St. Bernard family, you are encouraged to do the same.
many precious memories to highlight my experience with you as your pastor, especially,
the many Baptisms and First Communions with your children. Also, I treasure the
times I could offer you God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Penance. For me
this is a very humbling and hopeful Sacrament which I encourage you to make
regular and frequent use of, both on Saturdays and during our regional penance services.
The Capuchins are known to be good confessors and I have benefited personally
from them. While there were not many weddings here over the last few years I
appreciate being able to share the joy of your families as your family tree
of our children are extra special from kindergarten through high school and
beyond. How blessed we are to have a Catholic School on our parish campus. Mrs.
Denise Swope has done an outstanding job as our principal and serves her staff
and the students both professionally and generously.
Many of you
have had to bury loved ones during these years and this was also when I buried
both my mom and dad. You joined with me in sharing your sorrow and faith and I
appreciate being able to share my loss also with you. Your kindness will always
remain in my heart and I ask my parents to continue to intercede for you. Bishop
Malesic allowed me to bring my dad here after mom died and dad made many new friends
because of your warm welcome and his sense of humor. He felt truly at home and
left an extra gift to our parish when he passed. My brothers and sister all
remarked how special St. Bernard’s was to both dad and me.
the 170th Anniversary of St. Bernard’s with a wonderful meal and
shared history lesson. I was and am looking forward to the 175th
celebration coming up in a few years. The Pastoral and Finance Councils serve
this community with energy and intelligence and commitment to ongoing growth.
We were able to begin on-line giving and an increased offertory right before
the pandemic forced a radical change in our attendance. Gratefully, you have
continued your generous financial support to St. Bernard parish.
surprise, even a shocking surprise, that we had to lock the doors to the church
during Lent and through Easter. Thank God we are returning to more active participation
both in the Mass and other parish events. Added to this unexpected change, the
announcement that the Capuchin Franciscans are coming to serve this parish and
our neighbors was another surprise which includes that Fr. Don and I must move
on. This gift of new life for the parish is a long-term commitment by these
Franciscans to guide you and your families in becoming even more fruitful
disciples. Welcome these men as you did me and you will grow in love, joy and
unity as the Catholic community in Indiana.
for us is not limited by geography and I will trust His love to continue to
bless you as I promise to pray for you daily even as I pray for the parishioners
in the 3 new parishes I am now called to serve.
to your personal and parish prayer life and know that I include you in my daily
praying of the Rosary. The beautiful shrines dedicated to the Blessed Mother
here at St. Bernard’s bring much peace and strength to our families and you have
maintained them with great care.
generous service as volunteers has made this a great parish. Even with the
extra effort of maintaining clearances, you have continued to step forward and provide
services. More volunteers are always welcome, invite each other to get involved
and make a difference for the good of all.
The staff in
the office and the cemetery could not have served me better, I will truly miss
their support. Be patient with the new crew and help them learn their way around
share the same faith is a source of joy and strength to me. Stay yoked to Jesus
and live in that state of grace where we get to share Holy Communion with Him
and one another. We share His life, His grace and blessings and we get to pass
it on with the promise that the Best is yet to be! When the saints go marching in I want you to
be in that number – count me in too!
God be with
Love Joy and