Saturday, June 16, 2012

Who am I?

This was my first and remains my favorite bulletin cover from my time at Blessed Sacrament. It also marks the last in this series from the archives.


When Pauline reminded me that it was my turn to write the bulletin cover, Fr. Brian mentioned that it might be a good idea to say a little about myself. That recommendation, along with the recent ordination of Fr. Sparks and my memories of my ordination two years ago prompted me to reflect: Who am I?

The biographical details of my life are simple enough. I was born the oldest of three brothers and the son of a rancher in Central Meade County. I attended a country school until eighth grade before moving to the big town of Wall where I graduated in 1999. I entered the minor seminary in Winona, Minnesota immediately out of high school, and later attended the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota for my immediate preparations for ordination. Along the way, I acquired a decent grasp of the Spanish language, a penchant for writing, an infatuation with pheasant hunting, and a taste for fresh-caught trout. These details, though true, fail to get to the root of the question, “Who am I?” To answer that requires a bit more deliberation.

Fundamentally, I am a priest of Jesus Christ. By him, I was chosen to serve as another Christ for his people in the Diocese of Rapid City. By his grace, received through the imposition of Bishop Cupich’s hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit on the day of my ordination, I was commissioned to express for God’s people the same love that Christ demonstrated on the cross. I am called to do this in many ways: through my preaching, through the administration of the sacraments, and through my prayers with and for you. The most significant thing that I do, however, is my faithful celebration of theEucharist. Each time I celebrate Mass, in a very special way, I am able to make the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross present once again for the salvation of the world. In that moment, I bring the sacrifice of every Catholic, especially those present at the Mass, and I offer them in thanksgiving to the Father. In return, through the worthy reception of Holy Communion the Father unites us to his Son, and in doing so, unites us to one another in bonds of peace and love even more profound that those shared between parent and child. This, at the very root of it, is who I am.

And yet I am first to admit that the expanse between the ideal of my vocation and the reality of it lived in my life is quite vast sometimes. I do not always live my priesthood perfectly ,nor even sometimes well. Regardless of that fact, from now until eternity, I am called to love God and to love his people as Christ loved them. I mention all of this simply to say that in the time I spend in this parish, I will strive to love you with the heart of Christ, and I will make every effort togive my life for you just as Christ gave his life for each of us.

I hope that you will often remind me of this promise. I hope that you will insist that I be holy. I hope that you will demand from me the very best I have to give. In the meanwhile, I will do the same for you. God willing, by the time I have reached the end of my tenure in this parish, we will all find that we are a great deal closer to Heaven.

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