It's hard to believe I've been at St. Theresa's Parish for 24 years!
Twenty four wonderful years where we have grown together as a family of faith:
We have celebrated many Baptisms, 3,338 of them, celebrating new life;
We have celebrated many First Communions and Confirmations;
We have shared the joy of so many Weddings - couples making a commitment to each other and sacramentalizng their love for each other in our Church; We have also celebrated the sacrament of "Anointing of the sick" for those who were sick at home, in hospitals, or at a hospice center;
And we have also shared the sorrow and the grief of parishioners who have lost loved ones. We mourned as people of faith and hope in the Resurrection as we celebrated 3,066 funerals.
We celebrated the "Rite of Christian Initiation" for our friends who wanted to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
We witnessed beautiful liturgies, enjoyed our children liturgies;
And we loved the seasonal decorations: the Living Nativity; Christmas Decorations; Holy Week; Living Stations of the Cross; Easter Sunday decorations.
And every Sunday, "We Gathered Together" to ask the Lord's Blessing and sang "All Are Welcome" as we celebrated the Eucharist with families and friends; young and old; some very young with their bag of cheerios.
We were inspired by so many young couples bringing their babies to Church and coming up for the special blessings for their children.
We were inspired by our older brothers and sisters who come to celebrate the Eucharist with us in wheelchairs, and others walking with their canes.
We experienced snowstorms, hurricanes, power failures and of course we can never forget the problems with the air conditioning.
Our Service Ministries; Family Life Ministries; Catechetical Ministries; Social Concerns; Food Pantry are beautiful examples of how we give witness to our communities.
Our Youth Ministry Program is a treasure. Rich Donovan and his team continue to help with the image that our parish is inclusive and very welcoming.
And through it all we kept the Faith and we continued to build our strong community of Faith, Hope and Love.
For all that I say THANK YOU to everyone for your Faith, Your Inspiration, your Encouragement, your Love. I will never forget this beautiful Faith filled Parish.
At my First Mass 47 years ago John Brixie played "CITY OF GOD". as our recessional hymn.
When I was installed as Pastor at St. Benedict, in Newark, we sang "CITY OF GOD" as the recessional hymn.
When I was installed as Pastor of St. Theresa 24 years ago, we sang "City of God" as our recessional hymn.
Today our recessional hymn will be "CITY OF GOD."
The Refrain for the Hymn is:
"Let us build the City of God.
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love,
has turned the night into day."
Every day is a new day and an opportunity for us to build "THE CITY OF GOD."
May we continue to build the City of God wherever we are!
God Bless You,