Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
As I write, the priests of the Archdiocese are gathering for their annual convocation. It's a time when we can do some business and share a fraternity that we normally don't get to do. I wasn't able to go because I was 'tethered' to a toilet. (I wouldn't have said 'toilet' here, but the temptation to alliteration won out.)

It got me to thinking about all the priests I have known over the 50+ years of ministry, not counting the additional ten in the seminary and the growing-up years when priests played such an important part in my life. Often, hindsight can make you see even more clearly.

Although I wouldn't ever try to rank their influence, the first must be Monsignor Rowan Thomas Rastatter. Rowan was his mother's maiden name. Monsignor was good for a few shed tears twice a year. He ran Catholic Charities, and one tear-day was Charities Collection Sunday. The other occasion would be Mother's Day.

The tears - very genuine, were all the more startling because Monsignor was a somewhat rotund (my hero) cigar chomping guy (I had to give mine up in 1995) who folk either loved or avoided. You always knew where he stood and even as kids, we usually knew why he stood there.

My list included Father Tom Larkin who later became the Bishop of St. Petersburg, a kind and gentle man who gave a happy contrast to Monsignor Rastatter. They were a great team in those early Holy Family Parish days.

The list goes on. Some could be hard to appreciate, but I guess it's a small blessing that their faces don't come to mind as readily as the good guys.

We are going through some hard times right now as Church, especially with the ongoing revelations that are the stories of accumulations of long periods of time. No abuse can be tolerated. Still, when you hear a list that sums up 70 years you begin to wonder... How can people not wonder?
That's why when I sat down to write this Twitch, not knowing at first what my subject would be, the foregoing popped up. I think maybe it was the Holy Spirit.

Don't forget. ALL of us are Church. ALL of us make up the Body of Christ. That Body is life-giving. It's not a social club. It is the gift of the Lord. It's the place where the Lord intends us to meet Him in each other. You know that and I know that. We shall continue to BE that for each other come hell or high water. As it turns out, in these days it could be either one.

So, stop right now and say a prayer for the priests you know and the ones that you don't know. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep us clear-headed about the point of why we come together as Church. In a good old charismatic call to action, bind up and cast out all the evil spirits of division and distraction that can make us forget who we are, - Jesus for each other.

In Him,  
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