From the Pastors of St. Francis Past!
Just last week, Fr. Bline sent me an email sharing that he was going through some bulletin articles from the past and came across this one from 2015. Even though it is 8 years old, it is fantastic as it has wonderful words from all the pastors of St. Francis Past! Enjoy!
From Fr. Bline: So guess what...I got an early Merry Christmas. About a week ago I was given a binder filled with some wonderful surprises that John Sveda (a longtime parishioner) had been keeping since he was helping with the parish newsletter that ran from 1976-1979. In it I found some treasures written by Fr. Diederich and Fr. Schleicher that fit perfectly into this glorious season of Advent/Christmas. As a gift for the season and a perfect reminder of the start of The Year of Mercy, I have included the following words from our two former pastors that I hope fill you with joy too. Pax in Emmanuel, Fr. Bline (your 3rd Pastor).
From the Retired Desk of Your 1st Pastor, Fr. Francis Diederich (December 1976): "Advent is a season of joyful and spiritual expectation. It prepares us for the first coming of Christ thereby directing our minds to His coming again in glory...Our mission as Catholic Christians is one of witness – proclaiming the simple message of inward peace and love that was brought to this earth by the Savior. We too, are making straight the paths for the coming of the Lord to our lives and the lives of others. We're still in the planning stage of Christianity. It did not end when Jesus came, in fact, He specifically instructed His followers to continue what has been begun. We must again renew the hearts and minds of God's children with the same proclamation of John. We are still very much a pilgrim Church composed of peoples who have both heard the proclamation and those who have denied it. Therefore, make way for the Lord. May we make ready a fitting dwelling place for Jesus Christ our Lord."
From Your 2nd Pastor, Fr. James Schleicher (December 1976): "It is hard to believe that in less than one month I will be celebrating my third Christmas as pastor of Saint Francis de Sales Parish. They have been happy years with the joys and sadnesses that come in any life...But Christmas is a time of universal joy and happiness (and) let us draw for a moment on the happy things in our lives...Perhaps it would do some good to reflect on some of the gifts God has given to us, His children. The gift of faith is priceless. In a world where millions stumble in the darkness, we have been blessed with light, the light of Jesus Christ. The gift of health, something we take for granted unless it is suddenly taken away from us. The gift of other people, especially our parents, husbands, wives, children, those we love so dearly and those who love us in return. How barren and lonely life would be without them. The gift of God's love, brought to mind so visibly at Christmas when we reflect that He loved us enough to send His own son to earth to redeem us. This list of God's gifts to us could go on indefinitely, but it brings to mind the question what do we give to God in return? There's only one gift that we can give that He really wants. That is the gift of our love, wrapped perhaps in the ribbons of self-sacrifice and sincere concern for others. We pray that this Christmas, 1976, will be a time of great grace and blessings for our parishioners - a time that we might truly reflect on God's many gifts to us and a sincere decision on our parts return to God the gift He desires - OUR LOVE.”
As we approach Christmas of 2023, my heart overflows with great joy and happiness for being with you as your 4th Pastor! Your faithfulness to our parish community and the love that you share gives me great reason to REJOICE!
Happy Gaudete Sunday,
Fr. Jeremy (your 4th pastor) 😊