Pastor’s Corner

“God’s Many Gifts”

One of the most enjoyable parts of my week is to share with you; the readers of the bulletin, a few thoughts that might help us understand the message of each week’s gospel. As much as I would
rather write about the rich message of today’s scriptures, and not put myself in the spotlight, it seems appropriate to use this space to talk a little bit about me and what has been going on in the last week or so.

In the middle of last Wednesday night (that is October 8th into the wee hours of October 9th) I woke up very nauseous and sick to my stomach. When the sick feeling was gone, I felt a sharp pain in the middle of my chest which prompted me to call 911. With the help and support of my wonderful brother priests, I was in Southside Hospital in a matter of minutes and the diagnosis was a “small heart attack” which could have been much bigger had it not been for the speed and skill of the wonderful ambulance drivers and Emergency Medical Technicians.

I wound up having open heart surgery the following day and the doctors are telling me I am recovering very well. I was released from the hospital this past Thursday and am spending a few weeks
of “R&R” with my sister and brother-in-law.

I just wanted to let you know why I will not be around as much as usual in the next few weeks. But more importantly, I cannot put into words how grateful I feel for the many messages of prayers and good wishes that I have been receiving from our great Parish family. Your cards and notes have touched me deeply. I have always felt so embraced by the powerful love of this community, but never more so than I do now. I look so forward to being back with you as soon as possible, especially as we gather at the Lord’s Table.

In the middle of all this, Fr. John reminded me how everything is a gift from God. I really believe that. Even when painful and challenging things happen, even when we have to face darkness and uncertainty, even when things may get scary, God’s gifts are all around us because the tough times are actually opportunities to realize how fortunate we are to be constantly surrounded by God’s love everyday even when we may not notice it:

  • The gift of incredibly competent medical professionals here at Southside Hospital in Bayshore. Besides their skill, their service is so enthused with warmth and compassion.
  • The gift of a Parish Staff, Sisters, Deacons and co-workers who constantly make the blessing of ministry so alive for all of us.
  • The gift of Fr. Larry, Fr. John, and Fr. Richard, with whom I am so privileged to share the priesthood.
  • The gift of siblings and nieces and nephews whose love is truly beyond words.

As I said in the beginning of the reflection, we’re surrounded by God’s gifts. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells a story “about the necessity for the disciples to pray always without becoming weary.” If we can hear our Lord’s message, there is no darkness that can overcome us. Be assured of my prayers for all of you and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Fr. Joe