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Dear Mom and Dad, thank you for the gift of my vocation

Dear Mom and Dad,

Last month, I shared my thankfulness for the influence that three memorable priests have had on my life and the discernment that eventually led me to the priesthood. I would suppose that most people would expect this. What some may not suspect is how the two of you and your commitment to one another in living the sacrament of marriage also helped me along this same path. Just as I shared my thanks for the committed witness of Fathers Pat, Ed and Charlie, I wish to thank both of you for the witness you have offered during your 51 years of marriage. As you have lived your vocation, your witness has inspired me in my own.

Thank you for teaching me that people are always more important than things. Through the years, I have watched the two of you live this lesson. Your commitment to one another has always demonstrated that it is not only possible but necessary to put the other’s needs before one’s own. I watched the two of you do this as you shared in the responsibilities of raising a family while managing the pressures of your own careers and the growing needs of your own aging parents. In all that you have done, you have demonstrated that the needs of people always come first.

Thank you for showing me that being of service to those around us – especially those who are most vulnerable – is a vital and necessary part of everyday life. Whether it was in supplying the fixings or in giving the time and effort necessary to assemble sandwiches for the parish homeless shelter ministry or in your willingness to make the time to teach literacy skills to adults, you have always showed that being of service in simple, quiet ways is an important means to encounter Jesus.

Thank you for teaching me that any job worth doing is worth doing well. You have always showed that using our God-given skills and talents also entails the willingness to go the extra distance to make sure that those talents are used to their best end. Often, this also means helping one another to see that God has placed in us talents or skills that we cannot perceive on our own.

Finally, thank you for the gift of your quiet, strong faith in God which has been an integral part of each of these important lessons. Your desire and willingness to make faith a natural part of our life as a family has also meant that faith is a reality that must be lived each and every day. You have sought to live these lessons in your vocation. I pray that I might do so in mine.

And so our journey in FAITH continues.