Barbie was kind enough to let me write her column this week to bid farewell to you.
Three Sundays ago I said that Mission begins with Gratitude. This has been the guiding principal in my life. My 42 years in as a Columban Missionary serving in Japan have given me so much and I am so grateful.
I returned to the U.S. at the age of 70 and the doors of St Mary’s was opened to me. Fr Mike and the people of St Mary’s have done so much to make this transition a good one. Learning how to minister in the U.S. has been very challenging to me. Also, for the first time in my priestly life, not being the Pastor has been an area that I had to grow into. But Fr Mike and the Staff have walked with me and helped me so much.
In the beginning life was simple enough. Celebrating weekday Masses, helping on Sunday Masses and Confessions, sick calls and some Marriage preparation. Fr Mike was very receptive to various ideas I offered and there was a good working relationship.
But then Fr Mike became ill and I had to step in for everything else. Every day I prayed that Fr Mike would recover and return but there was Christmas, Easter, etc. in the meantime. Just as I was beginning to wear out, Fr Mike came back more refreshed and healthy than I have ever seen him. Thanks be to God!
At the same time the announcement that an Associate Pastor had been appointed to St Mary’s meant that I had to move on. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, I am certain, but it is so hard to pick up and move on.
You have been so good to me and I want to thank you for letting me share the most intimate times in your life, whether it be through Funerals or Weddings or Anointings.
May God continue to bless you and continue to show your goodness to Fr Rick who is coming to serve.
Father Ron has been a welcome addition to our parish staff for the past several years. He was a huge source of support during Father Mike’s medical leave. He will be sorely missed by our parish staff and our faith community.
If you wish to reach Father Ron, you can write him at:
Father Ron Kelso
450 Corral Canyon Road
Bonita, CA 91902