Although Bishop Ricken was already gone from the Diocese of Cheyenne when I arrived, our paths are surprisingly connected. Bishop Ricken was a priest in the Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado before becoming a bishop. At one time he had been the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Pueblo, a role which I would eventually assume years later. Bishop Ricken and I had never met until December of 2009, and we have only had the opportunity to visit a few times since then. It was great to have a chance yesterday to share some conversation with him and Carol in my office.
Carol Ricken's story about the advice she received when becoming principal of St. Mary's School was powerful. Moving from public education into Catholic education requires a shift in mindset. Thankfully, she had someone willing to point out that significant difference and how her leadership would change because of that. Carol's testimony about her time at St. Mary's School was a joy to hear.
As Bishop Ricken and I reflected a little on our time in Pueblo, and discussed the journey of where we each now find ourselves, I was reminded of how each step in ministry has prepared me for the next step. I never anticipated being in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but the sequence of events in my ministerial journey makes it evident that this is where I am supposed to be.
Being a Theology teacher at Valle Catholic High School in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri laid some groundwork to be a principal at Assumption Catholic School in O'Fallon, Missouri. Being a principal certainly gave me some insights for understanding my current role as Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Cheyenne. Being a campus minister, serving as a parish Director of Religious Education, organizing inter-generational faith formation events, and a variety of other responsibilities including Vocation Director and Deacon Director prepared me for my role as the Director of Pastoral Ministries for the Diocese of Cheyenne. All of these experiences have also enhanced my role as a deacon as well.
Are you able to look at your life experiences and see how God has prepared you for certain aspects of the journey? At this point in time, what doors seem to be closing in your life? What new adventures seem to be opening up? What fills you with energy and zeal? Where is your life heading? Have you prayed specifically recently about God's will for your life?
I extend my appreciation to Bishop David Ricken and Carol Ricken for making the trip to Cheyenne to help us raise funds for the St. Mary's School Foundation. Many people appreciated having the opportunity to visit with both of you again. I am certainly one of those that enjoyed spending some time with you. Please know of our gratitude for your kindness, your prayers, and your ministry to God's people. May God bless each of you and all of the people of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin!