Dear parishioners, friends and family,
This is a special time for me as I celebrate 50 years of priesthood. Thank you for being part of this celebration. I thank God for calling me, unworthy as I am, to be a priest in His service to His church.
The growth mentioned in today’s first reading from Ezekiel, is like God planting me in various parishes to help others grow too.
Also, in the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God which is growing gradually in all of us. The parable of the mustard seed is so powerful. God enhances our efforts, small though they seem. We do our best, God does the rest! This is the story of my life. God has sent me many wonderful parishioners to be with me on my journey. Without all those companions, my priesthood would have been empty.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank God for all you who have journeyed with me over the past 50 plus years. I include my fellow seminarians and companions in this. If there is one thing we have learned during this pandemic saga is how we need each other! We must never take one another for granted.
Some people have been asking me: “Which of the six parishes do/did you prefer?” It’s a non-question! It’s like asking parents – ‘Which of your children in your favourite?’ All are really special!
If it weren’t for the pandemic, our celebration would be slightly different this weekend. We had considered a postponement, but when will it be really safe? As the saying goes; ‘it is what it is’. So we get on with life. We will have a further attempt on the last Sunday in June – all being well.
I hope you enjoy the memorabilia. Don’t forget the seeds need sowing yesterday!
Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes and gifts. All are much more than I deserve.
A big THANK YOU to Archbishop George Stack, Cardiff for being with us.
I’m glad I’ve made the decision to carry on for a while longer instead of retiring this summer, especially since my health is still good.
Thanks again everyone. God bless, Fr Joe