May 31, 2020 – 20th Anniversary
This week was a very memorable week for me on so many levels. On Wednesday, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my ministerial priesthood and it was a wonderful day of celebration. I started with a very emotional Mass at 8:30am with the staff in attendance along with my brother Paul and his family. Gosh, it was nice to have people in the pews if only 10 people. It seems too small, but it was really nice to see “faces” during the Mass and feel the embrace of community. The one thing I miss the most during this pandemic SIP is your presence at Mass. As much as we have enjoyed the presence of you online, I still miss “seeing” you in person and singing along with the choir and cantors. Thank you for the so many who joined us online. It meant a great deal to me that over 1,000 people showed up online.
Maybe that is why the surprise car parade after the morning Mass was so powerful. It was wonderful to see you all again if only from a distance and through the car windows. It was so emotional for me. Thank you from the bottom of heart for waiting so patiently to just drive by and say a few words. You are an amazing community and I will surely miss you so much.
My staff surprised me again with a personal delivery of a gourmet meal from “Hero’s Ranch” and our friends, Angelo & Shelby Heropoulos. It was an amazing meal but more importantly I was deeply touched that all my staff returned to my house in the evening just to deliver a meal at social distance and share their love with me. Wow! They made me cry! Thank you all so much and this is exactly what I am going to miss so much.
On Thursday morning, we celebrated virtual Graduation Mass for the 8th graders from Holy Spirit School with the Honors Assembly. While it was not the same celebration, we normally do it was a lovely celebration. Principal, Greg Vohs and assistant principal, Maira Gutierrez along with the 8th grader teachers, Lisa Coulter and Dave Cortese did a great job putting together a wonderful celebration. In particular they put together a powerful video farewell for the students with video of all their teachers and principals over the last 10 years. It was awesome. Thank you so much for all your hard work at the school not just for the last 10 weeks of distance learning, which have been extraordinary, but for the last 10 years to get these students to where they are today.
At the end of the Mass one of the 8th grade students, Matteo Scipioni, shared a video message to me on behalf of the whole class. I was deeply moved by his comments and it was a beautiful tribute to my ministry and the love we have shared over their entire lifetime. I have baptized many of these kids as well as celebrated first communions and confirmations. Wow! So many wonderful memories to cherish. This move is getting harder!
To cap off the day, we had the 8th grade students drive by in a car parade to receive their diplomas and receive congratulations. It was so good to see these boys and girls in person again. So many of them have literally grown inches over these last 2+ months. I have grown inches, but it is on my waist and not height!
You can see it was a most wonderful week of celebrations and I join with the 8th graders in the most unique memories ever! 2020 will be remembered for many things but this week will be a week of joy. Thank you all for making this week so memorable for all of us