The second paragraph of the first reading stands out so much it bears to be repeated: “For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” I’m willing to bet that all of us have felt this way. We can think sometimes that God is just out of reach for us. We learn here that’s not the case. That’s how intimate our God is with us!
As we continue to learn about each other, I want to respond to many questions regarding my health. In 2012, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy after observed “gran mal” seizures. I was not able to drive for about a year-and-a-half and that slowed up many of the projects I was working on in the Diocese. Fortunately, I had an excellent Associate Pastor in Father Francis Marotti, who assumed most of my responsibilities. I still continue to have seizures, but they are of a type where I do not lose consciousness, awareness, or motor skills. I’ve been under the care of doctors at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In order to keep things under control, I need to be careful in selection of where I will be most involved, and where our parish staff is perfectly competent to perform their duties as leaders among the staff.
One responsibility I will continue is to serve as the Chaplain of the Battle Creek Police and Fire Departments. This takes very little time. Many of the responsibilities consist in meeting with officers and firefighters when they have things they want to talk about. Plus, I’ve made a number of friends in these departments. So I wanted to fill you in on that.
Speaking of health issues, I am writing this column from a hospital room in Grand Rapids. I contracted pneumonia early in the week and it was quite a ride. So thanks for your continued support and patience! I had to cancel various meetings this past week because of my sudden illness. But I look forward to meeting with our parish council, finance council, and staff.
Finally, many thanks to those who are planning this year’s parish festival. Obviously this is my first one, and it sounds like a wonderful annual event. And I appreciate that we will use this event as a way for me to meet more and more people.
Have a good week, and Praised be Jesus Christ!