On Thanksgiving Morning, Things that I am Thankful for…
I woke up on this Thanksgiving Morning missing my parents. To remedy that I decided to take my own advice to others and look at all the things that I have to be thankful for this day. I will not remember everyone, but this is just those I thought about this morning With the title, I have to start with my parents.
I am thankful for the combined 140 years that they spent in this world and the difference they made. For taking chances and in that showing us the world. For raising a few ADHD kids in a world that just thought we were “bad” or not focused, they always pushed us to be what ever we wanted to be. They never expected one of their kids would become a priest, yet they gave us the freedom to know and follow God’s will. Faith was an essential ingredient for all that they did with us. I still encounter people whose lives were change because of who were. What a great example of living the Gospel.
Olph and Holy Spirit
I am thankful for Archbishop Gustavo for taking a chance on this priest off the street. For Fr. Jim Fischler for all the work he did to make this happen. Especially to Fr. Thumma and Sr. Leonita Barron who brought me back out of a dark time when things were not looking good. To Fr. Eriic Ritter who introduced me to the archdiocese and the entire staff at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, for being there for and helping. For Deacon Louis and Diana Heimer who understood the challenges of owning a business with so much uncertainty about timing.
To Fr. Carlos and the community at Holy Spirit for an amazing 5 months and preparing me for St. Pius. You will always have a warm place in my heart. (Gabby’s too)
St. Pius X
To the staff of St. Pius X. I am very different from my predecessor, thank you for being so patient through the transition, patient with me,my dog and my way of doing things. Thanks to the people of St. Pius X. I was a little talken back when I was handed pages of pastoral priorities to implement. Looking back, I can’t think of a better way to start. Taking what all of you had worked on, and making it a reality. We are almost there. What a great way to learn a new community.
To Mrs Zarate and Mrs Brown for being there as we take a good school and not only make it great, but give the teachers and students the tools they need. By the end of December, we will have more technology and a better student teacher ratio than any school in the area. Thanks for building such an amazing team and putting up with all my crazy ideas and being able to tell me when they are maybe a bit too crazy.
To all the volunteers that make things happen, the Woman of St. Pius, the Knights and the list goes on and on. There is a real concern in our church that the young people are no longer engaged. I have a different experience. Our youth programs and Teen ACTS are thriving, I had the young people that volunteered all summer, nicknamed the Minions, and all the youth ready to pitch in, St. Pius is blessed with their youth.
Probably my best source of humility and regardless they are always there. My brother and his wife gave me the grill that produces the amazing meals that have made over $25,000 for the church. My sister is a natural cook and worked with some amazing chefs and is a great consultant when I try new things.
Frequently a joke, but I truly see this “deficit” as a gift. To Dr. Gay who did my evaluation for the Archdiocese and was the one who really put the pieces together behind my falling out with my previous diocese. Your insights have been very helpful. I thought I would include this video which really sys it all and you will understand that if you think you should have been on this list, that it wasn’t personal that you are not, just how my brain works
This may seem odd, but this year I am thankful for doubt. If we knew everything about God, we would not be able to go deeper. We don’t ever consider again that 2 apples plus 2 apples gives us 4 apples. We learned that a long time ago! So there is no reason to delve deeper, 2+2=4, PERIOD. Talking to some High School students a few months ago who were worried about doubting parts of their faith it dawned on me. These were very smart creations of God, all good students at Incarnate Word High School. I realized in that conversation how important doubt as it draws us deeper into our relationship with our God. Doubt is truly a special gift from God.
Catholic Television of San Antonio
Being ADHD there are times when I am preaching that things come out of my mouth that I really wish hadn’t. SO when the Archbishop asked me to host his show, I was taken back. I was sure that they didn’t know me well enough and that a disaster was looming. The Archbishop even asked me before first show why I was so nervous. I happily gave him great examples of what could go wrong. He laughed, picture on Facebook. They hadn’t seen the side of me that used to be the painfully shy kid that would hide behind my dad’s leg meeting new people. I was also following in the footsteps of giants in the archdiocese. I was still feeling like a barely reverend and it was a bit much. A year later, I would really miss the show if it was cancelled. I love seeing the different parts of the diocese, meeting new people and the process of doing a show that is live to tape. Basically we film as if we are live so that it isn’t edited. And to date, my brain and mouth have cooperated. (My dad just rolled over in his grave now that I tempted fate, but oh well) The bishop did start us at St. Jude’s, patron of hopeless cases, but it seems to have worked out.
To the doctors at St. Pius X especially Deacon Jose, Doc Mike and Dr. Cassias for all your help with my crazy diet. To Dr. Ross who put it all in perspective as I was worried about my diet being unhealthy and he pointed out being 284 pounds wasn’t really healthy either. I am at the weight threshold between obese and just overweight, so about 33 pounds to go, but thanks for helping me with the first 67 pounds. And to Marshall Smith who did the last round with me and actually made it fun. Thanks to all who have not tempted me and helped me stay the course. I feel at least a million times better and no longer fall asleep at my desk.
This is much longer than intended and I still miss my parents but that is in a better light now. As I head to mass and end this 1000 word plus blog, thanks to the rest. From the sisters that sell that gave me a great place to work and grow to all the friends that I met along the way. I am pretty sure I was not following God’s plan through much of what I did, but I do know God was able to work through everything I did to help me be a much better priest than I ever could have been before. Thanks to those from the first time around that were so encouraging, The Hopkins, Gerbers, Delines, O’Learys, Fr. Marty Lally, Fr. Bob Fisher, Fr. Kevin Fausz, CM, Bishop Brucato (Bishop Bob), Fr. Ed Deimeke and of course my mom’s 4th kid, Fr. Jim Thomas. Thanks for being a part of the journey, then and now.
Thanks Archbishop Gustavo and Fr. Jim for making this all possible.
To all those I didn’t have space to mention here, Thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving to all and a special prayer to all those deployed and in harms way as they are serving our country.