As we celebrate this Father's Day, let's all give thanks to God, our Father, for being a caring father. I have often heard men say that the best gift a Dad can get from his children is love, recognition and appreciation for being a good caring Dad. Let's be sure to show all Dads our love and appreciation, those who are here and those who have gone before us.
This Father's Day weekend, parishes in the diocese of Joliet are taking a second collection, at all Masses, for our infirmed and senior priests. I ask that you consider making your gift a way to express your gratitude for the priests who have dedicated their lives to the pastoral care of God's people.
As a priest for the past 32 years and the pastor of this parish since 2009, I certainly appreciate the priests I have met and those I served with in my early years as an Associate Pastor. I watched and learned many pastoral care practices from them, and I continue to learn from Father Riva and Father Diesbourg and a few others who graciously accept the invitation to celebrate a weekend Mass at Holy Spirit. It is thanks to their willingness to help, here and at other parishes where pastors like me can occasionally take some time off.
Speaking of taking some time off, Bishop Conlon has granted my request for a mini-sabbatical this summer. I will be taking a four-week sabbatical program at Saint Meinrad's Institute for Priests and Presbyterates to rest, reflect and reinvigorate my spiritual life and I am looking forward to it.
The Church grants priests permission for a three-month sabbatical after they have been in service for 15 years, and every ten years after that. However, I will only take four weeks at this time. I will be leaving you in good hands; Father Riva will serve as the Administrator while I am gone from July 9 to August 4. So, as you pray for all Fathers on this day, I ask that you include both Father Riva and me in your prayers as well.
Blessed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him Father! I recently read this phrase, and it made me think, I too feel blessed every time I hear someone say, "Hello, Father Dennis or have a nice week, Father".
On the journey,
Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski