A Message from
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Peace and all Good!
He could have been irritated or angry. After all, Jesus hade just learned of the death of John the Baptist, and he had gone to a lonely place to mourn his relative and to pray. But the crowds pursued him, and brought to him all their sick loved ones. Despite his own suffering, Jesus responds with love and compassion. “His heart was moved with pity.” Night approaches and this same crowd is hungry. Who asked them to come out here in this deserted place anyway? The apostles want to send them all home! They need to take care of themselves. But Jesus says, no. You feed them. Feed them with what? The apostles remind Jesus of their poverty of resources to feed so many. But, Jesus simply takes the little fish and bread, raising his eyes to heaven and thousands of people are fed. What about us? We can make excuses…I’m tired of giving. I have done my part…my share. This need is beyond my resources. Yet no need is beyond the resources of heaven. All we have to do is begin somewhere with compassion. Now go and do the right thing.People of God, this is a very special Feast Day! It is the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula. This feast commemorates the tiny church in the Assisi valley which was rebuilt by St. Francis himself. It was here that the Franciscan Order began and it was here where the friars gathered in Chapter Meetings to be send out on missions and it was here that St. Francis died…here at his beloved Portiuncula—“The little Portion”. Everyone who visits a church on this day can receive the “Great Pardon’ which St. Francis received from the pope himself. It is a plenary indulgence.
This is also a sad day for me. It is my last Mass with you as your pastor. I arrived eleven years ago and over this time I have seen terrific growth of spirit and endeavors! I will dearly miss all of you! I will be moving this Monday to Danville, California and will be ministering as Director of our San Damiano Retreat Center. As the director, I will be responsible for planning and giving various retreats, welcoming pilgrims to this place of prayer and reflection and for designing new opportunities for spiritual growth. I will bring with me all the things I have learned here at St. Mary’s and put into practice a pastoral vision for this lovely retreat house. As I take leave of St. Mary’s, I ask forgiveness for the times when I have not served you well or if I have offended you in any way! I also ask your prayers as I begin this new venture. I will return from time to time to see you! I wish to thank everyone for making my departure a lot easier and for making the closing Masses and receptions so lovely. You are loved!!!
Next weekend, you will be welcoming your new pastor, Fr. Michael Weldon, O.F.M. You will really enjoy him, I know. This parish prizes good homilies and Fr. Mike is sure to deliver! He has been a professor of homiletics in the seminary for the last 10 years! He has authored several theological books and is now beginning another one. You will be spiritually fed for sure in that great Franciscan tradition! Please give him the same loving care and welcome you have given me over these last 11 years!
In closing, “May the Lord bless and keep you!” “Arrivederci!”
(from left to right) Fr. Luis Baldonado, Fr. Vincent J. Mesi, Fr. Micah Muhlen
and Brother Tito