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Pastor's Pen - June 28, 2020

My dear parishioners, there are not enough words to express the grace and blessings that have come to me over the last 8 years as your pastor, all from our gracious God, made flesh in you. We’ve done some hard work, faced some challenges, accomplished amazing things, have had some sad times, but also some great, fun times.

Eight years ago, I was a bit intimidated by the size of CTK, and having a school. It’s like being a mayor and superintendent, pastor and teacher and spiritual mentor, all rolled into one. Together we have grown, living the gospel, witnessing with our lives, becoming more and more the community of disciples God calls us to be.

What has been so live-giving and satisfying for me is our prayer at the Eucharist. My, how we have prayed well together! Your full, conscious, and active participation has fed me. The music ministry here is amazing, and the addition of the millennial choir at 5 pm Sunday Mass gives an exclamation point to the weekend. Singing with the choir, combined with Blackburn College choir, to perform the Mozart Requiem in our church in April 2017, was a powerful and moving experience. God is so good!

Your collaboration with me has made our parish what it is today. A pastor can only lead to a point. The people have to get on board, and your support and cooperation and collaboration have made it a joy to be your pastor. That is not the case in every parish. I know. Serving as pastor of Christ the King Parish has been a remarkable, unrepeatable, blessed chapter in my life. I have so many fond memories of being in the school. The fabric of our lives has intertwined by God’s grace, and we are not the same. It is time to close one chapter, and begin a new one. I wish I could thank each of you personally for your good will, your prayerful spirit, and the enthusiastic energy you have shown. I trust this will continue as you share the wonderful gift of faith and community under the leadership of Father Chris House, with the assistance of Father Michael Berndt.

As I leave CTK, I will leave behind a piece of my heart. That will hurt for a while. That is bound to happen because I have given from my heart of love to be your friend, your brother, your pastor, your spiritual Father. But then my heart is bigger now than 8 years ago when I arrived, because I have known your love. Love is meant to be given away. And when love is returned, there is a life-giving, grace-filled spiral that takes lovers into the very heart of God. For all that has taken place here in these 8 years, this is holy ground because together we have touched the very heart of God. That’s what it’s all about. Thank you for the love and care you have shown me. I will cherish these memories and know you will remain in my prayers. Please remember me in prayer.

Love and blessings,

 Fr. Joe

Comments

  • Katie Price

    What a beautiful letter and witness of the love poured out from you and into the parish family! You have been a wonderful leader- staying thoughtful, innovative, humble and always with an eye toward making disciples. You have been a great shepherd and witness for my whole family and we are so grateful! God bless you!

  • Sara Dobron

    Father Joe, Your letter was beautiful and touching! You are a wonderful priest and such a good man. We have been blessed to have you with us and will miss you dearly. Your new parish is lucky to have you! Take care! Sara

  • Kathy and Steve Cour

    What a truly beautiful, moving letter! We, too, are saddened by your departure. We know you will flourish WITH your new parish. May God bless and keep you, may God’s face shine on you, may God be kind to you and give you peace.
    Sincerest Best Wishes,
    Steve and Kathy Cour

  • Terry Lucas

    Father Joe, you have done more to get this parish involved than can be imagined! I truly appreciate your commitment to the parish. You will do well in Jacksonville but know you have left this Parish community including the school in great shape. You will be missed

  • Andrew Hansen

    Wonderfully said, Fr. Joe. Right back at you! Thank you - for everything!