Pastoral Message – September 10, 2023

Pastoral Message – September 10, 2023

It is with mixed emotions that I write to all of you as I prepare to leave SSJ for my new assignment at Corpus Christi parish in Aliso Viejo. I thank God for giving the opportunity to serve SSJ over the past three years. I could not feel more blessed by this experience. Every moment of my time here has been a rich and valuable reflection of God’s great love. In the words of the Yankee legend Lou Gehrig, as I look back on my time at SSJ, “today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” (although, as a Catholic, I should probably say “blessed” instead of lucky).

When I arrived here as a newly ordained priest, I was inappropriately confident in my abilities. Most of you were patient with me and guided me gently toward a more acceptable approach. While I appreciate your kindness and support, I am even more grateful to those of you who were rightfully critical and who demanded that I put my pride aside so that I could discover the priest that God needed me to be. Although I’m still not quite there, I am immeasurably closer today than I was three years ago. Thank you for helping me to learn and grow. Because of you, the people of Corpus Christi won’t have to tolerate as many of my mistakes and, God willing, will get a more mature, more capable priest.

Throughout my long secular career and my short tenure as a priest, I have valued relationships above all else. More specifically, I have cherished those times when my boss and I had a close relationship. Working with Fr. Reynold these past three years has been at the top of my many work relationships. He is a terrific leader who taught me much. I will miss his calming presence, his sage advice, and his genuinely caring nature. Thanks also to our parish staff who endured my OCD tendencies, sarcasm, and quick temper. You are all saints for putting up with me.

Of course, I have formed strong relationships with many of you as well. Whether you were expressing a kind word about my homily, attending one of my bible study sessions, or coming to my office to talk, you were patient and sincere. I deeply value the trust that you placed in me. I will also greatly miss my relationships at our school. I thank Mrs. Grant, our faculty, our students and our parents for allowing me to be a part of such an important ministry of our parish. Finally, thanks to those of you who have graciously invited me to your homes, taken me out to dinner or simply brought me one of your favorite recipes. As you likely know, for Italians, food is love.

I urge you to continue to show your love and support to Father Reynold and to warmly welcome Father Phillip. Together, you will help SSJ to serve God in an extraordinary way.

May God richly bless all of you. It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve you!

Fr. Mike

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