Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time: October 22, 2017
To the community of St. John the Evangelist,
When I first arrived here in May, I spoke at all the masses introducing myself, and, throughout my first week, I served in that church and had grown to love it. I could not believe what would happen at the end of that week. I realized then that God was calling me to be at this parish for a specific reason.
Throughout the summer, I watched as the parish grew in faith and as a stronger community. I observed the incredible ways the pastoral team and Fr. John lead the community and kept things going even when it seemed the most difficult.
After two years of seminary formation, I can truly say that a major part of my formation happened here this summer. I have learned a lot, not just from Fr. John, but from all of you. I thank God every day that he gave me the opportunity to come to Center Moriches and to get to know all of you. I have been in and out of many parish communities but I have said repeatedly to Fr. John that there is something special about this parish in particular.
When I found out Fr. Mike was coming here, I texted him immediately and told him how blessed he was to be assigned to this parish. I am grateful for my time here and I want to thank all of you for making my summer special. Thank you for giving me such a warm welcome. You have been a real gift to me and I hope that I was able to give myself as a gift to you in some way.
My first evening here was on May 13th, which was the 100th year anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal. Growing up, my mother always tied in certain events with some feast day of a saint! My brothers and I used to roll our eyes but maybe she was on to something. Perhaps it was divine providence that I would conclude my summer here with a pilgrimage to Fatima! Know of my prayers for you while I’m there and always. Fr. John has told me many times that St. John’s is my home and that I’m always welcome. I’m happy to say that I do consider this a home and that is thanks to all of you. May God bless you.
In Christ through Mary,