Pastoral Message – June 26, 2022
To the People of God at Saints Simon & Jude Catholic Parish
My thanks to all of you for welcoming my wife Pamela and me to this church community a bit more than six years ago. We had spent several years at St. Mary’s by the Sea Parish, including my years in formation, and had no idea what to expect on being assigned to Saints Simon & Jude. All we knew for sure was that this was a much larger parish, and we feared we might remain anonymous in our new setting. And not only did you represent a different parish for us, but I also was a brand-new deacon. Still, you allayed all our fears and made us feel comfortable immediately. We could not have asked for a more generous parish family to join.
I’m grateful for all the clergy, parish staff, volunteers, and parishioners who assisted me in learning how things are done at Saints Simon & Jude. You were kind and understanding in teaching me what a privilege it is to be a deacon and learning how best to assist you. (I recall the glazed look in Kevin Murray’s eyes when I asked him who he was only about three hours after he’d first introduced himself to me!) Deacon Bill Cobbett, my mentor both in formation and at this parish, told me early on that you were a special community, and he had the basis of three different parishes to draw on. He certainly was right, and I remain grateful for the example he and Sylvia set for Pamela and me.
I would appreciate your prayers as I begin a new ministry at St. Anne’s Parish in Seal Beach. I believe all of us profit from prayer for each other. I’m convinced that God listens to the prayers of his faithful, and, even more importantly, he wishes us to pray for one another. In so doing, we avoid only thinking of ourselves and appreciate even more that the community of God is so much larger than any one of us individually. So I promise to pray for God’s blessing on each of you and ask that you do the same for Pamela and me. At some point in the future when we meet in the Kingdom of Heaven, we can share notes on how our prayers for each other turned out!
St. Anne’s is the southwestern-most parish in the Diocese of Orange and nestles up against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles beginning in Long Beach. Still, it’s just eight miles away from Saints Simon & Jude. If you find yourself at St. Anne’s for any occasion, please stop by and say hello. I’m deeply indebted to you for all that you taught me about being a servant of the people of God and will always treasure the time that we had together.
Deacon Steve Byars