Reflections On My First Year at St. Joseph

The Psalmist wrote, “Give thanks to the Lord, invoke God’s Name; make known among the people God’s deeds!  Sing praise, play music; proclaim all God’s wondrous deeds!”

On June 21, 2016, I arrived at St. Joseph Parish to begin my new assignment.  While it doesn’t seem possible, over one year has passed and so much has taken place.  When I reflect back over this first year, I can only marvel at God’s wondrous deeds and that is why I quote the inspired words of the Psalmist at the beginning of this article.

I recall how delighted I was to receive the news that St. Joseph Parish was being open listed by the Priest Placement Board due to the early retirement of Father Jim Kimla.  My delight was to be found in the fact that St. Joseph’s has a parish school and I was eager to return once again to a parish with a school.  For me, a school brings so much energy and life to a parish community.

After my first meeting with Father Jim in scoping out the parish to see as to whether or not I would be interested in coming here, I was extremely pleased with what he had shared with me.  I sensed that the parish was alive and well, a community of faith that was very active in living out the Gospel.  A community that was stable in all areas of parish life.  It didn’t take me long to express my interest in serving St. Joseph’s to the Placement Board.

Upon being appointed, I visited the parish and met the staff in the Parish Office.  My first impression was that they were a staff that worked well together and enjoyed what they were doing.  Then I was given a tour of the school, visiting all of the classrooms, meeting the faculty and students. I felt so welcome.  Overall, my visit was an experience that cannot be put fully into words.  I drove away feeling very much at peace with the assignment and thanking God for gifting me with this parish.

My first impressions have not been disappointing but only enhanced over the past year.  You have been so warm and welcoming.  You are a community that prays and sings well, and this has made for incredible, uplifting celebrations of the Eucharist.  Many times over the past year I have received compliments from visitors regarding this.  Truly, the Holy Spirit is at work!

So, it is with a heart overflowing with gratitude that I thank each and every one of you for making St. Joseph Parish a community that cares for one another, that is vibrant in its worship, generous in sharing of time, talent, and treasure, and for being the living Gospel for all to see. 

Be assured of my prayers for you and may we continue to journey in faith, following the movement of the Holy Spirit, joyfully proclaiming who we are, as the song says, “We are a pilgrim people, we are the Church of God; a family of believers, disciples of the Lord! United in one Spirit, ignited by the fire; still burning through the ages, still present in our lives.”

— Father Dennis, June 25, 2017