Keen at expressing my deep appreciation, I greeted folks at the doorsteps, shook hands, smiled graciously and hugged tightly. After saying the 9:00AM Mass, it’s nearly impossible to pay close attention to every word but I have constantly heard, I came here to see you and say thanks, Father. Keep in touch and don’t forget us. I hate goodbye’s but I wanted to see you before you leave. An elderly woman who goes to the 12:15 PM Mass, showed up and whispered, “You will be a blessing everywhere you go.” That’s very touching. These are people I related on a personal level. They joke around and I don’t mind. Guess, that’s the test of a Good Pastor. Amen.
At the Bon Voyage party last Sunday, a lady stood up and politely requested me to impart a few words. I got used to being put on the spot and it never ceased to surprise me. My words usually depend on the tenor of the conversation. Humbled enough by the overwhelming number of people, I sincerely thanked everyone for gracing the occasion with their presence. Noticing that the crowds were mostly the ones I personally knew, I felt compelled from my vantage point, to say that the experience of God’s amazing love is primary and must be descriptive of each parish community. As I was going to get a drink, the Alvarado’s came to me, shedding tears, uttered a faint goodbye and confessed that what I just said was exactly their experience. It gave me the occasion to preach again in deed and not in words.