Thank you and TTFN

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Well, here it is: my final month at Holy Family. I will be away the weekends of June 6/7 and 13/14, so that means we only have two weekends together. Of course, I am only going up the road a few miles so instead of “Good-bye” I’ve been saying TTFN (Ta Ta For Now).

With school over (or almost over for some of us), the days of summer settling in, and much of the “work” of parish life taking a break until the Fall, I thought I would spend these final few bulletins giving thanks.

We pray at every Mass that it is “truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you (God) thanks.” Think about that. We are claiming that constant thanksgiving in all things is not only something that we should do (our duty or responsibility), but also leads to our eternal happiness (our salvation). I have to confess––no, not that type of confession…well, OK, a little bit––that in the past, giving thanks has not always come easily. Usually giving worry or doubt or objections or some such was my first reaction to the day and the moment at hand. One of the great blessings of my time here, especially this past year, is experiencing in new ways how important and life-giving gratitude in all things is.

It is good to give thanks in everything. It is healing and life-giving to give God thanks always, no matter how difficult the moment is. Why? Because the truth is, we have everything good and delightful in Jesus. God is at work in our lives for our good. Though there is real injustice and evil in the world, though suffering is not something which is lovable in itself and every life has plenty of it, though God does allow these things and even uses them at times to discipline us like a loving parent (Hb 12:3-11), they are for our good. It is well worth our giving thanks for what these challenging moments are bringing about in us. It is similar to the athlete who can give thanks through the long, painful workouts, months before games, knowing that this will lead to victory. Or the boyfriend who goes through incredible lengths, sacrificing money, time, sleep, you name it, to bring off the perfect engagement moment, knowing that all this “suffering” is worth it because of what it will gain him: the heart of his beloved. So I give thanks to God for everything that has happened to me and to us in my time here. And I thank you.

It is, of course, easy to thank each of you for so much, not because you have brought suffering into my life, but new friendships, encouragement, welcome, appreciation, appropriate challenges and a calling on to better actions at times, and your faith in God, which gives me ever new joy in being your priest. Holy Family is blessed to have you here. I pray that you know the value and gifts that you bring to the lives of others in our parish family. There are no exceptions to this truth. I thank God for you and that I had the opportunity to serve you as His priest. Thank you.

There are many people that I want to thank God for by name, and I will try to do that over the coming weeks. There is, however, one person that I want to thank this week, and that is Fr. Ken Coughlin. There are many ways that Fr. Ken helped me in positive ways, and this past year I have thought again and again how many of the good things that are happening at Holy Family are because of foundations that Fr. Ken laid while he was here.

There is one thing, though, that I am especially grateful for from Fr. Ken. From the very first moment I arrived here––even before I arrived here––he made me feel at home. He welcomed me as though I was a long-lost friend, and I came to see that he did this because this is who he his, because he makes the effort every day to try and show whomever he is with that they matter not for what they do but for who they are: God’s child. In this he helped me learn in new ways what Christian hospitality is: welcoming all as though I was welcoming Christ and a close friend. He showed me the importance of being this way always as a parish priest. I hope that I have grown in this area, and I know that I have Fr. Ken to thank for this. In all the ways that you have (hopefully) found me to be welcoming, joyful, and grateful for you and your presence, I know we have Fr. Ken to thank for this. It is not a small thing that I found in Fr. Ken a brother priest, and a boss, who expressed everyday his gladness to be with me and that I was here with him. This week I thank God for all of you and for Fr. Ken. I’ll be back next week to keep giving thanks.

May God bless you and your family abundantly this week.

Fr. Jonathan

Monday – 6:30 a.m.

Tuesday – 8:15 a.m. and 7 p.m

Wednesday – 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Thursday – 6:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.

Friday – 6:30 a.m.

Saturday – 8:00 a.m. and vigil at 5 p.m.

Sunday – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and seasonal evening Mass:

7 p.m. Memorial Day weekend in May to Labor Day weekend in September

5 p.m. after Labor Day to the weekend before Memorial Day weekend