As I mentioned in yesterday's post, six men studying for the diaconate were being admitted to the Rite of Candidacy for Holy Orders. While these men still have years of study and formation before they are ordained, this ritual reminded me of the prayer uttered by the archbishop at my own ordination. "May the Lord who has begun this good work in you bring it to fulfillment." Seeing similar words on the stained glass window of one of my favorite saints made me reflect deeply about how well (or not) I have cooperated with God's grace to bring His good work to fulfillment over the course of these last twenty years of ordained ministry. (The successes belong to God. I will have to accept responsibility for the failures.)
I am a month into my new role as executive director of St. Albert Catholic Schools. As I tackle a variety of challenges currently facing the school, I am grateful for what I have learned in the last quarter of a century. My formation and my years of ministerial experience have prepared me well for the task that is at hand. With the help of a solid leadership team surrounding me, a dedicated faculty, a support staff that goes above and beyond the call of duty, and a multitude of parents, alumni, and avid supporters, I am certain God will bring this good work to fulfillment.
1. Yes, I have written a book. It was published in the fall of 2017. Complications (unrelated to me) arose near the end of the process when my book was just about to go to print. Legal action was taken against my original publisher and the company immediately went out of business. There were about 350 authors who had work in progress at that time and were left in a real bind. Yes, I was one of those authors. Why should anything go smoothly? I eventually found another publisher willing to complete my printing, but unfortunately, it was not marketed in the way it would have been if things had gone as planned with my original publisher. Thus, my book is not available on the usual outlets you would expect. If I am able to correct that in the future, I will be sure to publicize that news. Until that happens, contact me if you have a desire to obtain a copy of the book. firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Yes, I still lead retreats, days of recollection, and give parish missions. If you click on the tab at the top of this page "Retreats and Parish Missions" you can see a list of places of where I have spoken in the past. This is an area of ministry that I enjoy immensely, and I would be thrilled to serve your parish or organization in this manner. Obviously, my first responsibility is to fulfill my duties as executive director at St. Albert Catholic Schools. However, I can reasonably accommodate a number of speaking engagements as well. If you are interested in having me lead a day of recollection, retreat, parish mission, or simply give a talk at a workshop, I will do my best to fit it into my schedule. We can tailor the event to meet your specific needs or desires. Once again, feel free to contact me. email@example.com
3. Some of you heard my interview with Bishop Pates on Iowa Catholic Radio in the middle of June prior to my arrival in the diocese. I have been asked if I will be doing more on local Catholic Radio. It is my hope to build a good working relationship with people at Iowa Catholic Radio and Spirit Catholic Radio. This is a valuable means of communication to proclaim the Good News of Salvation. I look forward to being part of that in any way I can.
Finally, I just want to thank everyone for the gracious welcome I have received into the Diocese of Des Moines. I look forward to getting to know more and more of you on a personal level.