When St. Peter went up the mountain with John and James and they witnessed the amazing and wondrous Transfiguration of Jesus, Peter exclaimed: “Lord it is good for us to be here!” I can only say I knew in my heart that the Good Lord had something very special for me as I returned to Springfield last summer with the Archbishop’s mandate to help both St. Teresa and St. Bernard become a “Collaborative Region”. This has been a year of grace for me as well as a time of challenge and trust for both St. Teresa and St. Bernard. A number of you are aware that I was previously stationed at St. Teresa as an associate pastor under Fr. James Eisenhauer. I also am a graduate of Catholic Central (1970). Before coming back to Springfield I spent 15 years in West Milton in an amazing assignment which involved my building of a priest’s retirement community, a nature preserve of 176 acres and the Transfiguration Center for Spiritual Renewal. Also I was pastor of Transfiguration Church and for a short time also St. Patrick’s in Troy. There has never been a time in my life where God’s presence and guidance was not very powerful for me…even when I was not listening very well. God has a way of getting through to all of us if we let Him. We must be people of faith and people of love. I have so appreciated getting to know the staff at St. Teresa. They are trying hard to make my transition to two parishes work more smoothly. You can be grateful for them. I also follow in the footsteps of Fr. Ed Gearhart. Fr. Ed is a good friend and example of a real caring priest. I so admire his commitment to Catholic Social Teaching and Hispanic Ministry. I pray his retirement is a source of renewed energy. Priests never really retire.
For those of you who do not know me I am not that hard to get to know. I have an older sister, Marilyn whose health is not so great. She has been a widow since 2009. I help in her caregiving. She has six children and about 25 grandchildren. I keep losing count! I love music, like to hike and play some golf. I have a cat named Sassy. I serve by appointment to Our Mother of Good Counsel Carmelite Community in the Dayton area. When I was pastor of Sacred Heart in New Carlisle I supported significant outreach to our migrant/Hispanic community. I helped found what was then the Tri-County Women’s Network a pro-life outreach to mothers expecting a baby. All in all I am deeply humbled that the Lord chose me to serve Him in this way as a priest. We have a deep and rich Catholic Faith. Pope St. John Paul called for a New Evangelization. Now Pope Francis powerfully holds up to us the need to care for the poor and suffering and the beautiful creation God has given us. All of us are called to be a part of the New Evangelization in the 21st Century. My prayer is that as the Mass changes have now come both St. Teresa and St. Bernard may work together with our other two Catholic parishes to more effectively live our faith and our love of Jesus Christ. Please pray for me as I serve both of our parishes, St. Teresa and St. Bernard.