1990 Dec 2 – 1st Sun Advent (Bulletin Letters)
90 12 02 – My return to parish ministry / Bp Bullock
First Sunday of Advent
Right now I’m really feeling swamped with all the catching up I need to do. My house is a mess . All my belongings are packed away with nothing in its right place. It will take me at least two weeks to get my ‘things’ in order and put my posters back on the wall. I know I’m back in my own house, but I can’t call it home yet because I don’t know where anything is. As I sat down to write this letter, I discovered that my typewriter is shot! Life on the outside is all too complicated. Jail was much more predictable – but not nearly as fun….
Much of my anxiety comes from the emotional drain the last seven months has had on me. I really needed, and appreciated, the month break the Bishop gave me before sending me back to you. I had an excellent retreat experience in, Albuquerque, N.M. Most of the rest of the month was spent visiting friends and family. I did get to visit Bishop Dingman in St. Paul, IA. He is in much the same shape as he was when I last saw him. Do keep him in your prayers. My presiding and preaching at the weekend masses at the Student Center of the Univ. of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, on Christ the King Sunday, was a good experience even though the Hawks got beat by the Gophers that weekend in football. I told the students that they “might have won the game, but Iowa wi11 still get to go to the Rose Bowl!”
I met with Bishop Bullock on Thursday afternoon, just before I headed back to Harrison County. It was a good meeting. The Bishop was very supportive of me personally, as he has always been. I’m still trying to integrate and discern what the last seven months were all about and what I must do now. This is particularly challenging given the state of the world these days and the U. S. poised to go to war in the Middle East. I know in my bones that initiating a war with Iraq, to reclaim Kuwait, would be obscene. The loss of human life and the mass destruction would far outweigh the atrocities already committed by Iraq’s aggression. The dilemma for people like me, who belong to the Resistance Church and see with such clarity the moral issues of war and peace, is: “What must I do to say ‘No’ to this crazy spirit of war that has infected the Administration?”
Lucky for me, I’m back with you – the people of Holy Family and St. Anne’s parishes. There is a spiritual “groundedness” that comes with being here. Fulfilling the role of pastor/priest has been a very healthy and rewarding, task. (It would be for anyone!) I look forward to getting back into the swing of things. The last five and a half years has afforded me a depth and balance to read the signs of the times with a faithful eye and a loving heart. The world may be going crazy all us; yet, I have discovered a basic goodness in the everyday life of our parish communities. At the center of our community life lies the weekly liturgies. Each week families and friends gather around the table of the Lord to share God’s Word and God’s food. These weekly gatherings, with their changing liturgical seasons, give us a full measure or the Gospel’s blessings and challenges. From these weekly liturgies, all other community life flows. As your priest and pastor, I have the privilege of living and working at the center of your parish life, of administering the Church’ s sacraments, and being with you as you face the challenges of your daily lives. It’s a good place to be, with many rewarding experiences.
You need not worry about my being transferred. The Bishop has assured me that I’ll be in Harrison County for the foreseeable future.
Nor will I be crossing the line at SAC in the near future. What I am looking forward to is getting back in touch with as many St. Anne’s and Holy Family folks as I can, being your pastor-a priest in your midst, and being a good friend. I know that for many of you this past year has been rough. My crossing the line at SAC, the trial and the jail time that followed, the changing of priests, and now my return, has caused anxiety and stress for the whole community. I apologize to anyone who might have been hurt in the process. I hope to make it up to you by my attentive service in the months to come. I want to touch base with as many folks as I can, but I can’t see everyone at the same time. If I don’t see you right away, give me some time to catch up.
Advent is a great season to be returning home. It is the season of great promise seeking fulfillment. For six months, I have looked forward to the day of my return. It has come and my fulfillment is at hand!