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We stand on the shoulders of giants

We stand on the shoulders of giants. I often say this about the parish community that I pastor as I think about its history and the many blessings that are a part of more than 40 years as a parish. I am especially aware of this now, as so many of our parish founders are reaching the later years of their earthly lives, and many of them have already gone home to God. Our parish community reflects the faith, love and joy of that unique group of individuals and families who asked the bishop of Lansing for permission to found a parish in DeWitt in 1969. Working in cooperation with God’s grace, the vision and love of our parish founders continue to have profound influence on our parish life. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

I stand on the shoulders of giants. I often think about this as I reflect on the ongoing unfolding gift of priesthood. Some of you know these “giants” and many of you have met some of them through the reflections I have shared with you, here, through the years. Who I am becoming as a priest has been heavily influenced by the gift of faith given to me by my parents, Jan and Gene, and their continued witness of faith-filled living. Who I am becoming as a priest also has been heavily influenced by the many good priests who have had such a powerful influence on my life – they have names like Fathers David, Alcuin, Pat, Ed, Mark, William, Charlie, Roman, Roy, Brendan, Roger, Bob, Larry, Steve, John and Joe. I have witnessed and experienced the beauty of Catholic priesthood through the successes and the challenges that have been a part of their priestly lives and ministry. They invited me in, so to speak, to be able to see and experience the day-to-day life of priesthood. I am thankful for the gift they have given me through the years.

There is one more group of “giants” who have been tremendously influential in my life as a priest. They are a wondrous collection of dedicated professional lay ministers who have had a profound role in shaping my personal life and my priesthood. They have names like Janelle, Bill, Pattie, Scott, Dave and Jack. There have been many more through the years. Each, in their own way, has offered a powerful example of how one can and must respond to the God-given gifts that are a part of the lives of each of us. Although they would never say so, I have watched as each of them has made tremendous and joyful sacrifices in order to undertake a life of ministry in the Church. My life and the lives of their parish communities have been enriched by the unique combined gifts of their faith and their dedicated and tireless service.

What is true for my life and the parish community that I serve is true for each of us and the parish communities to which we belong. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Someday, God willing, someone may say that of each of us. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.