By Father Bob Kraig This past weekend was the beginning of our parish’s 40th anniversary celebration. The 12:00 noon mass and festival in the afternoon was a great kick off.
Anniversaries, whether a parish, wedding, graduation, class reunion, whatever are wonderful times to reflect and ponder. One looks back and can see many joyful times – times that truly made one proud or fulfilled. And then there are those moments where you wondered what was happening in your life, times of disappointment, times of questioning, times of doubts (both of oneself and God) and times of frustrations.
I don’t know if it is your experience or not. But when I look back on my almost 27 years here at St. John Neumann as pastor and hear the stories of the first 13 years of SJN I know that God has been present in both the good and the bad throughout these 40 years. There were times I knew and felt His presence and there were times I absolutely wondered and questioned whether God was with me or not. But somehow, someway His presence always emerged.
Maybe as you celebrate a milestone anniversary some of the words we’ve heard make sense. You can’t put it into words but you recall the words of psalms: ‘Be still and know that I am God!’ ‘The Lord is my Shepherd…,’ ‘out of the depths I cry to you, O God, hear my voice!’ ‘In you Lord is my refuge!’ ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom do I fear!’
And then you read a gospel and hear: ‘Do not fear!’ ‘Do not be afraid!’ ‘Heaven and earth may pass away but my words will not!’ ‘If God so clothes the grass in the field…will he not much provide for you, o you of little faith?’ ‘I pray for them….the ones you have given me!’
On and on Jesus assures us He is with us always. In addition you just think of all those people who have been part of one’s life (in this case the life of a praying community for 40 years) and God has always provided what we need through others as a sign of His love and forgiveness that He is with us always.
Happy Anniversary Saint John Neumann. I am so proud to be pastor of this community and so thankful for the presence of God that has been sent to me through so many in this praying community, both living and deceased. May the peace and blessings of God continue to descend upon this parish community.