Giving Honor Where Honor is Due

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The great English journalist-convert, GK Chesterton famously quipped “Thanks are the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” This past weekend we had a momentous opportunity to gather to give thanks to God for 48 years of Fr. Earl Simonson’s priestly service. I want to express special gratitude to the dedicated parishioners and parish staff who attended to all the details to make it such a festive and fitting occasion. It was great to see so many present, sharing stories and expressing gratitude to Fr. Simonson. Special thanks are due to the caterer Molly from Creative Catering who provided such delicious food for all as well as the area funeral homes who came together to collectively sponsor the great event. More than a few people brought family photo albums of weddings, baptisms or other occasions to share. Put simply, it was a memorable day in honor of a memorable priest!

As this liturgical year comes to a close with today’s glorious Feast of Christ the King, Fr. Hagan and I are grateful for the opportunity to follow the Lord into a period of silence and solitude. This coming week we will make our annual silent retreat at a monastery outside of Peoria, Illinois. Although it might seem odd for both of us to choose to go away simultaneously (especially for a silent retreat!), we are blessed to go with our other brother priests who share our hopes for the eventual establishment of an Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Please pray for us that we can enter into the silence and be refreshed and renewed by a week of quiet prayer and recollection. Pray also for Fr. Stan who will ably ‘hold down the fort’ while we are away. Fr. Dennis Evenson and Fr. Al Bachman, two dedicated retired priests from the Archdiocese, have agreed to assist with some of our daily Masses and stand by to assist Fr. Stan with any funerals that may come up. Thanks to both of them, and of course to Fr. Don Schwalm and Fr. John Brandes who continue to press on with such fidelity. How blessed we are with our priests!

Finally I want to express gratitude to Janice Godlewski for her many years of service. She recently informed our office staff of her intention to retire at the end of December. She started serving formally at Holy Cross in 1989 and has been a tremendous blessing in this office for almost thirty years. I will pray a special blessing over her at the 9:30 am Mass at Holy Cross on Sunday, December 3rd. She will be around throughout the Holy Cross Campus Craft Boutique and Bake Sale taking place throughout the weekend of December 2/3. In answering doors, phones, assisting with wedding couples and grieving families, parish registrations, sacramental records, Mass intentions, bulletin editing, and countless other details, she has been a great part of our parish life. I’m told the Craft Boutique and concurrent Christmas Fair at St. Hedwig Campus make for a great weekend outing. See more details in this weekend’s bulletin. Also hang onto the enclosed Advent and Christmastide flyer with lots of parish activities coming up to enter deeply into the grace of the coming liturgical seasons.

Grace and peace to you as you and your loved ones give thanks this Thanksgiving weekend,

Fr. Howe