June 26, 2022
I have always believed that God has a plan for our lives and for his people.
- That is never more evident than in the gospel that we have for this weekend.
- Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem with his disciples.
- On the way, they need to pass through a Samaritan Village.
- However, because of cultural and religious differences they were not welcomed.
- Of course the disciples, being filled with resentment, wanted God to send down fire from heaven and destroy the village.
- However, Jesus told them that was not God‘s plan for either them or the village.
- Instead, He reminded his disciples of the priority of God’s kingdom and invited them to follow him.
This weekend is my last opportunity to speak with you before I retire.
- I have been doing a lot of thinking about God‘s plan for my life and his plans for Saint Patrick’s.
- I must confess that when I came here 10 years ago I had no idea what God had in mind for us nor where he wanted to take us.
- All I knew was that God did have a plan and that I was in the right place at the right time.
- I asked the Lord what he wanted for us and of course, over a period of time he let me know.
- I have discovered that if you ask God, he will let you know but you need to be ready for the answer.
- His answer could be summed up in the phrase, “build up my Church.”
- I understood that it meant both physically as well as spiritually.
Actually, this was my second term at Saint Patrick’s.
- I was privileged to be your pastor for nine years beginning in 1990.
- I returned in 2012 after serving 13 years at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Cheyenne.
- I was delighted to be able to return.
- With your help and generosity, we accomplished many things over the last 10 years.
- We updated the school especially the Commons and the landscaping.
Without a doubt, the most noticeable improvements occurred within the Church.
- With the donations of so many people we completely renovated the Adoration Chapel.
- Additionally, as you can see we are completing the flooring in the interior of our Church.
- I believe we have one of the most beautiful churches in Casper and one of the most amazing parishes in the entire diocese.
However, more important than all of these accomplishments is the spiritual growth that has taken place in our parish.
- We have so many people who are growing in their relationship with Jesus.
- By the grace of God our parish continues to thrive.
- We have innumerable people involved in parish ministries.
- Disciples make disciples.
- I believe that all of the exterior improvements which have occurred are merely an outward expression of the continued growth that is taking place in our spiritual lives.
Walking with you
I am so grateful that I have had the privilege to walk with you.
- You have strengthened and increased my faith and challenged me to become the best version of myself.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to walk with you.
- Yes, many other things have happened as well.
- We survived COVID. It wasn’t easy.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to baptize your children.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to give your children their First Holy Communion.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to bring you God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to walk with you in illness and surgery.
- Thank you for letting me be the one to walk with you as you faced the death and burial of a loved one.
At the same time, I am aware that some of the things that I may have said or did may have hurt some of you. I am truly sorry, please forgive me.
- For the times I was not present when you needed me, I am sorry, please forgive me.
- For the times that I did not care for you in the way you needed to be cared for, I am sorry, please forgive me
- Please know that I tried to do the right thing and be sensitive to your needs and never intended to hurt you by the things that I said or did.
- But I have to ask you, nevertheless, to forgive me.
Please know that it was never my intention to hurt you or to cause you pain.
What am I going to do after I retire?
- I will be living downtown at Saint Anthony’s Rectory most of the time.
- Father Vern Clark and I have a small summer home north of Big Horn, Wyoming.
- I plan on spending some time there with him enjoying the beauty of Wyoming summers.
- Additionally, I hope to be able to assist in various parishes throughout the diocese when priests need vacation time or are ill.
- Frequently you will see me at Saint Anthony’s Church.
I want to leave you with some parting thoughts.
FIRST, remember we are really on a pilgrimage in life.
- We are not tourists, but pilgrims.
- Everything around us will one day pass away.
- People are always more important than things.
- The only real satisfaction in life is doing God’s will and following his plan
- All the things we have and all the things that we accomplish will one-day pass away.
- Keep focused on the kingdom of God and the things of eternity.
- They are really the only things that matter.
- The only mistake that any of us can make is to take our eyes off Jesus.
- Keep your eyes focused on him and in the end everything will turn out alright.
SECOND. Keep the faith.
Our Catholic faith in Jesus is really the most important thing we have.
- St. Paul put it this way: “we have a treasure in earthen vessels; one treasure only the Lord Jesus.”
- Continue to nourish your faith; keep the flame of faith burning in your heart.
- Protect your faith!
- As Catholics, we may be in for some difficult times ahead.
- No matter what! Remain faithful!
FINALLY, Keep an openness to God‘s plan.
- Be willing to take a risk and let God take you where he wants you to be.
- Remember, God always has a plan.
- It is his plan that a new pastor comes to Saint Patrick’s.
- God wants him here. Welcome Fr. Cliff with open arms and warm heart.
- Listen to God‘s Spirit and be open and willing to go to the places where he wants you to be.
- You already did that. You know what it is like, so don’t be afraid.
- God will always be there for you.
This Wednesday is my final day as we celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. So, I would like to leave you with their words.
“I pray that the Lord who has begun this good work in you will bring it to completion right up to the day of his return.”
And finally, “Strive to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory now (and) until the day of eternity. Amen