Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
You don’t look a day over 60, but you are by two years. I thought some of you, along with me, might enjoy being 62 for a little while.

How are such wonders possible?

On October 7, 1958, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Pope Pius XII split off the southern 16 counties of the State of Florida from the Diocese of St. Augustine and established the Diocese of Miami.

Over the years since, the dioceses of St. Petersburg, Orlando, Venice and Palm Beach, took away 13 of those 16 counties. Our original 16-county diocese had somewhat over 100,000 Catholics if I recall correctly. Now in just three of those counties we number well over half a million. That’s surely some growth, but it simply reflected what was going on in the whole state of Florida.

Only the Lord knows if we have increased His presence by multiplying ourselves. I’d like to think that more of us means more of Jesus. That’s the ultimate meaning of discipleship. The times and occasions we celebrate can give us more opportunities to be better disciples than we could have imagined.

As the whirlwinds of politics and illness sur¬round us, one good thing we can get out of it is a better focus on just what is important.

I have this mental image of myself walking through a high corn field and pushing aside the stalks on left and right, hoping that I’m moving in the right direction. I hear all kinds of calling and shouting about which way to go. I realize the only way I’ll get my bearings is to look up and find the sun and be very grateful that it’s not night. And come to think of it, even at night I might have a heaven-sent moon.

Looking into myself for my own resources sure beats wasting time lamenting over what someone else is doing wrong.

In our lives there are some things that need to be identified for what they are, evil as well as good. But, identifying good and evil won’t help very much if all my reactions are kneejerk, rather than thought-out, my criticisms are personal ra¬ther than insights born of prayerful reflection.

I throw in the ‘prayerful’ part because I think that is what we believers can bring to the table: actions born of prayer.

Last week I shared some ideas and feelings I was having as I completed ten years as your pas¬tor. As I hope I conveyed, it has been a happy time. On many days I hope and pray that I’m getting it right.

Some days however, I do have a little ping that goes off and reminds me that because everything seems to roll along calmly doesn’t necessarily mean all is perfect.

In my past somewhere I recall a wise pastor saying to me, “If someone in the parish isn’t ________ off at you, you’re probably not doing something you ought to be doing.” ...one succinctly phrased pastoral bon mot.

Speaking of happy passages of time and ‘birthdays,’ I just want to mention that last week, on the 28th, Annie celebrated her 25th anniversary as a member of the staff of St. Sebastian. She and Monsignor McDonnell came in 1995 when they both came from St. Clements. Father Pat certainly knew ‘how to pick ‘em.’

Here’s to many more parish birthdays, days of finding new ways to be Jesus for each other.

In Him,
sign frjim

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