We generally think of clergy as people who make a difference in the lives of others. Holy men and women who are called to minister sometimes are even placed on a pedestal and we expect more from them then is humanly possible. Occasionally you come across an exceptional clergyperson. This week I said goodbye to one.
My policy here has always been to respect the privacy of others and so I write about public figures and people who have already received news coverage. The person I am writing about today is neither of those. He is a simple parish priest and therefore I won't mention him by name or the church where he has been serving, but I will say that it is a wonderful thing to know him!
Conducting services he truly excels at because he knows liturgy, has a wonderful clear speaking voice, can preach on virtually any subject and make it interesting, and his singing is like a foretaste of heaven. A priest must do more than conduct services though and this one does all kinds of marvelous things, like getting his parish involved with their neighbors, reaching out to the homeless, and becoming better connected with the wider Church. He is also pastoral - I know that first hand. He went with me to the hospital during a medical emergency I had several years ago and he stayed with me there in the emergency department through the night. He was also there for me when my mother died last year, and I have seen him minister in a similar fashion to others.
Sunday was his last day with his current parish and he has already arrived in his new city on the other coast. I hope that he will remember us with love, as we shall remember him. This man is a true pastor and he has made a difference in the lives of many!