My first days of priestly ministry were experienced 33 years ago at Sacred Heart with Monsignor Taufen and the patient, kind people of the parish. Though less familiar with Annunciation, I have been at meetings, presentations, and a few Masses over the years in your community. As a newcomer, I can assure you that the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is evident, and the divine and human love of the Heart of Jesus and the trusting faith of Mary –“let it be done according to your word” – become our inspiration as we begin together a new chapter in this part of the one Body of Christ.
In following Fr. Ralph and Fr. Tom, and also sharing ministry with Fr. Ron and Fr. Doug at St. Francis Xavier and St. Stephen and your excellent staffs, I am confident God will do great things. Thanks to the outgoing pastors who built such strong foundations. Thanks to those on the ACC Planning Council who created a vision we will strive to bring to life. Thanks to each of you for that same patience and kindness as I get to know names, faces, relationships, and routines. The life of the Church today involves the growing need for collaboration and partnership, already shown by Jesus’ choosing the Twelve and sending the disciples two by two. Whatever structures and programs we create are always intended to serve the mission Christ gives us across the generations: to go and make disciples, to create the possibility for each person to meet the love of God.
In addition to the life of these parishes, I will continue to serve as the Consultant for Healthcare Ethics for the Diocese, and will occasionally juggle meetings at St. Cloud Hospital, Catholic Community Schools, the
Minnesota Catholic Conference, and a few other organizations. I’m not a talented juggler, so if I drop things from time to time, please forgive me.
I am honored and humbled to work with you to continue the rich heritage of these parishes and see what God has prepared for our future. For the past several months, I have been praying for you each day, and I humbly ask your prayers as well. These are challenging times as we live with COVID-19, strive to create just and respectful communities, foster reverence for life and family, contemplate our responsibilities as voters, and so much more. The problems are real, but so are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of Mary, and the love of God
made flesh in Jesus Christ.