A Farewell Note From Fr. Joe
We celebrate the Solemnity Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord today. This is what defines us as Catholic Christians. The Eucharist is the greatest gift given to us by our Lord. This feast has special significance in my own priesthood. It was the first Mass I celebrated as a newly ordained priest in June 2010. It will be the last Sunday Mass I will celebrate as a priest officially assigned here at Holy Spirit.
St. Augustine famously mused that we become what we receive. Every Eucharist that we receive we become the Body of Christ. Who have I become in the last four years? I have become the innocence of the
6 year-old who asks if dogs go to heaven. I have become the servant’s heart of the youth who gives up vacation time to be with the poor in Nicaragua. I have become the compassion of the host of ministers who visit the sick. I have become the faithful who prepare the liturgies. I have become the joy of the catechists who pass on the faith. In a word, when I receive the Body of Christ I receive you.
I thank God for forming me into the compassionate, generous, joyful, and faith-filled Body of Christ that is Holy Spirit Community. I especially thank the hardest working staff I have known both at our office and school. I thank especially each member of the Pastoral Team, Merry Reardon, Penny Warne and Fr. Brendan, who have helped challenge me to be a better human, Christian and priest. As I mentioned at the farewell party, Fr. Brendan has a missionary heart with great vision for the church, which, as a brother priest, gives me great encouragement and hope. Each of you has had an impact on my young priesthood and have shaped my work of forming the next generation of priests
and leaders in the church. Thank you.
Many of you have asked where I will be going. As the Director of Vocations and Evangelization for the Diocese I will not be assigned to one specific parish. Instead, I will be visiting and celebrating Masses at all the parishes, schools and universities. My email will be firstname.lastname@example.org should you want to contact me. I ask for your prayers for the great work of evangelization and vocations as we all have a part in building up the Body of Christ. If we stay close to Christ especially in prayer and the Eucharist, we stay close to each other. The gift that I leave of the Sacred Heart has the Latin inscription “Cor ad Cor Loquitur”: Heart speaks to Heart. May we never leave the Heart of Christ where we shall all meet often.
Peace to you all,