Thirty-eight years ago — May 28, 1983 — I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Gary. At the ordination Mass, I was asked to make five promises:
- Do you resolve, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discharge without fail the Office of Priesthood in the presbyteral rank, as a worthy fellow worker with the Order of Bishops in caring for the Lord’s flock?
- Do you resolve to exercise the ministry of the word worthily and wisely, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith?
- Do you resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently, in accord with the Church’s tradition, the mysteries of Christ, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people?
- Do you resolve to implore with us God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to your care by observing the command to pray without ceasing?
- Do you resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure sacrifice, and with him to consecrate yourself to God for the salvation of all?
After having made those promises while standing in front of the assembly, I knelt before Bishop Grutka and made a promise of obedience as he asked me, “Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?”
I take my promises very seriously. In that regard, I have never said no to any of my bishops when asked to take an assignment. That obedience has led me to many places:
- 1983-1986 Full time instructor, Bishop Noll Institute, Hammond
- 1983-1985 Associate Pastor, St. John Bosco, Hammond
- 1985-1986 Chaplain, Carmelite Home for Boys, Hammond
- 1986-1991 Pastor, Holy Trinity Church, Gary
- 1991-1994 Chaplain, Indiana State Prison, Michigan City
- 1994-1996 Pastor, St. Maria Goretti, Dyer
- 1996-2003 Pastor, Queen of All Saints, Michigan City
- 2003-Present Pastor, St. Thomas More, Munster
My assignments, as you can see, have been incredibly diverse and have given me opportunities that I never would have imagined. I have been blessed by the people I have been sent to serve and thank God every day for His constant care. I know that I have made my Guardian Angel work overtime and I will apologize to him when I get the opportunity to do so.
As I look to the past, I have to be honest and say that I am also looking to the future. In five more years, I will be able to retire. As much as I enjoy serving God’s people, I will embrace retirement when it is my time to do so as it has become a real chore to be an administrator in my older age. Celebrating the sacraments is a joy. Running things is more and more stressful. I long for the day when I can retire from administration and become a “supply priest”, helping parishes by celebrating Masses for them.
I thank God for calling me to the priesthood and ask you to keep me in your prayers that I might find the energy to continue serving as faithfully as possible.