This past Sunday I learned that the Pastor at my Church would be leaving on Sabbatical at the end of August. My parish has had the same Pastor for the last ten years and subsequently, he felt it was time to recharge his batteries. While the people who know me knew that he and I had many different theological disagreements, I never once questioned his integrity as a man. Without going into specifics, this man had a warm quality about him,.'approachable' was a word often used to describe his very character. Ecumenical relations and social justice was/is his specialty and he always used his popularity (as he is a local radio personality)to advance causes drawing a common good. From a social standpoint, he understood his priesthood within the context of the Church's preferential option for the poor and always put himself out for what he thought was the good of his flock. From a personal standpoint, I can remember as far back as 2003, my uncle lay dying with cancer and he never hesitated to annoint him despite the fact that my uncle was way out of his diocese. He even waited to celebrate his funeral Mass late, to accomodate my uncle's son.
Father, even though you and I understood the Second Vatican Council differently, I wish you well, and rest assured my prayers will be with you. May Our Lady of Fatima cover you with Her mantle so that when you return, you will as a faithful son of Holy Mother Church.
God Bless Father.