I would like to thank those of you who congratulated me on my 25th Anniversary to the priesthood. Thank you for your kind words and cards which I received! Your support and prayers mean much! For personal reasons, I did not want to have a big celebration, and so I also thank my staff for honoring that. This being said, we did have a celebration with Bishop Donald Kettler this past Monday, June 6th at St. John’s University for all the priest Jubilarians (i.e. those who were ordained 60, 55, 50, 40 and 25 years which included myself). It was a nice gathering of priests throughout our diocese along with our Bishop to honor those who in my estimation really earned their ‘stars and stripes’ by being ordained 40 years or more! My mere 25 years pales in comparison to their great accomplishment. I do thank God for my own vocation and the wonderful people I have met over the years and who have been an inspiration and example of Jesus to myself. These people have truly helped me carry on. Thanks also to all the members of previous parishes and especially those people from both St. Peter and St. Paul for being so good to me as your pastor (and although I have very limited abilities) I will continue to try to do my best.
Secondly, I would like to introduce you to a seminarian named, James Malik, who is in his third year of theology studying for the priesthood for the Joliet Diocese near Chicago Illinois. James will be doing a Clinical Pastoral Education program (chaplaincy work) at the St. Cloud Hospital this summer as part of his training. Bishop Kettler asked me if I would be open to having him stay with me at the St. Peter Rectory. I agreed and so James will be with us! James Malik is 28 years old. He was born and raised in Illinois. He likes golf, hockey, baseball, bicycling, fishing and doing things outdoors. He also plays guitar and from the sounds of it, is much better than I! He has quite a bit of experience working with troubled youth and this work has inspired him to want to do more to serve the Lord. Please welcome Jim this summer and don’t be afraid to say “Hi!” You might also invite him to any activities you are involved in or even into your home and to get acquainted with him as well. Although I am sure he will be very busy at the St. Cloud Hospital, including doing many night shifts, I imagine he would welcome any opportunity to meet other people and get to know them. Welcome, James, to our parish communities, and may the Holy Spirit continue to work in your life! Peace and God bless!