Each of us who has faith has been given this treasure, and even in our current state of inflation it will not lose its value. It almost goes without saying that none of us is worthy of that treasure, yet it has been given to us and the Lord wants to work with us, and through us, despite our frailties and weaknesses. And he sends each of us out with this treasure as laborers into his harvest even though we may leave much to be desired.
I am one who has been sent, and I suppose you’d like to know a little bit about me. I grew up on Williams Ave and I attended Holy Redeemer Grade School. I had two brothers and a sister. My dad is 89 and still a parishioner at Holy Redeemer, as well as my brother Joe and his family. I went to Central Catholic and later to the University of Portland where I graduated in 1979 with a degree in Philosophy. I’ll save you the trouble of doing the math, I’m 65.
After college I went into international shipping. In 1981 I got married, and now have two grown sons, both married, and I have 3 grandchildren. I worked in the shipping business for 28 years and left that in 2005 to run the Catholic Radio station KBVM, or Mater Dei Radio, for close to 10 years. My wife divorced me in 2009 after 27 years of marriage, and I was granted a decree of nullity, or an annulment, by the archdiocese in 2016.
In 2011 or 12, I was having a conversation with a priest friend of mine, and he strongly suggested that I become a priest. At first, I thought he was joking. Well, he wasn’t and so we set up a time for us to meet further. I spent 5 hours with him a few days later and I began to discern whether God was calling me to that vocation. In the process I checked with several other priest friends of mine who each, unhesitatingly, told me that yes, I should be a priest. Well, the idea was growing on me and within 6 months I was sensing that maybe there was something to it, but then life, or I should say death, got in the way and over the space of two years I lost 2 employees, one to a heart attack and the other to cancer. It didn’t seem right for me to leave the radio station under those circumstances.
But finally in May 2016 I was accepted at Mt. Angel Seminary. So, I sold my house, and I sold or gave away most everything I owned and entered the seminary that August. Some of my family thought I was nuts at the time, but for me, I felt sent – like the 72 in today’s gospel, and I’ve never turned back. I graduated from Mt Angel last April and I was ordained a priest June 26, 2021. My first assignment was at Holy Trinity in Beaverton, and one year later here I am at St. Charles.
A couple of things about me. The first is this: while I had a few uncomfortable experiences in seminary and in my first year as a priest, I have not had even one bad day in those years since I entered seminary. Not one. The truth is that I love being a priest and I think that all of my time spent as a husband and father, and all of my working life, were preparation for what God ultimately called me to do. The second thing is this: I am deeply pleased to serve as your pastor, and I am very happy that I get to do it here. I have happy memories of this church as a child, and I have had many friendships with people who were parishioners here. And I am looking forward to building more and I will be praying regularly for all of you.
One of the things I want to do is reinstate daily Mass here. I think this week we’ll have it at 10 starting on Tuesday, and feel free to come if you are able, but I want to select a time that best suits the needs of the parish, so if you have any thoughts on that please let me or Leif know. And speaking of Leif, I want to thank him for making this transition so smooth for me. Leif was one of my teachers at Mt. Angel, and he was great then, and he’s great now, so thank you, Leif.
As we move forward, I’m eager to get to know each and every one of you. Forgive me, though, it takes me a bit of time to remember names. I inherited that trait from my mom, and I had to nickname my sons with the same name because I couldn’t keep them straight. So, my apologies for that in advance.
Anyway, it’s a privilege and blessing for me to be here with you, may God bless you all and let’s pray for each other that we may be Christ to one another.