Congratulations to Fr John as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. We are blessed at St Pascal’s that Fr John was open to following the promptings of the Holy Spirit many years ago when he entered the seminary to discern a vocation to the priesthood. I wish him many blessings and continued joy in serving the people of God as a priest.
We take the opportunity to offer thanks to Fr John for his years of service to the Church and the people of God as a parish priest. Most of all I would personally like to thank him for the way he came to St Pascal’s and took the position of Pastor at our parish. I believe he should be tapped by the Archdiocese to teach our seminarians how to assume leadership in a new parish assignment.
At a time when many priests at taking a reassignment of parishes as an opportunity to come in a try to radically change how parish communities have worshiped and functioned I believe that how Fr John approached his assignment to St Pascal’s provides a model of servant leadership. He came to St Pascal’s with an open mind to understand how the community worshiped and functioned. To see what was important to the community and understand the history and traditions. This go slow and open-minded approach allowed Fr John to appreciate why St Pascal’s does things the way they do and he has come to value them and I might add enjoy and encourage them. He has also been open to looking at new ways we at St Pascal’s can worship and be Christ to the neighborhood around us.
Pastors are teachers and Fr John’s vocation of teaching that preceded his journey to the priesthood is very apparent with the children at St Pascal Regional Catholic School. He works with the children in preparing them for their participation in our weekly Masses, especially the lectors. Lately, he has been teaching them sign language for their responses during Mass. His joy in teaching them about faith and the Mass shines forth.
On a personal level, I enjoy working with Fr John and we have a very good relationship and communication. Our informal discussions on Church issues and what is happening at St Pascal’s are very open, honest, and respectful. We learn from each other and take opportunities to push each other in our ministry as clergy to the people of God which is always the end goal of our discussions. It is truly a blessing to be assigned with priests such as Fr John that are flexible and open to considering new ways to minister as a Church. I also really appreciated his leadership during the beginning of the COVID pandemic and how we quickly pivoted to utilize the Internet to reach out to our parishioners. He worked very hard to learn the technology needed to live stream and connect to our parish family.
Again congratulations to Fr John on 25 years of ordination and may God grant you many, many more years of service to the Church and the people of God.
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
Peace, Love, and Blessings