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Bad news, good news


Our pastor at St. Ann’s, the Rev. Stanislaw Fiuk, shared some news this past weekend with parishioners, couched in the classic, “bad news, good news” format.

He’s been with St. Ann’s now for seven years one year as administrator, after Father Tony Vilano was assigned to San Fernando in San Antonio, and six years as pastor. It was time, Father Stan said, for him to be reassigned by the archdiocese.

The good news, he said, is that he’s received his assignment. The bad news? “This is your penance,” Father Stan said. “You must have me six years more.”

It’s good news for a parish to have a priest. Some priests serve more than one parish. Father Stan, himself, served in South America, where he ministered to people over a vast area and Mass was an infrequent blessing for most of the people, due to the size of the territory. Many parishes, many Catholics even here in our country have no priest to offer the sacraments, to say Mass, to offer comfort and consolation in our times of need.

We are blessed with a pastor who actively seeks to grow our flock in God’s ways. Ministries have burgeoned in these past few years we now have several Bible studies, a growing youth ministry, catechism classes that have outgrown our facilities, more Masses serving the growing parish population, retreats hosted by our parish in constant preparation and often oversubscribed, serving adults and teens, in English and Spanish; parishioners serve in many capacities in our community.

At the end of the day, the man of the cloth in the pulpit is, let’s face it, a man. Human, like us, with faults and failings just like each of us. Father Stan has his ways ...and with his distinctive Polish accent, he’s often difficult to comprehend.

But he is our priest. Thanks to you, loving and merciful Lord, we have a preach, teach, guide, and bless us, to lead us in prayer, to offer our prayers, to stand in Christ’s stead at the altar and through your miracle, Lord invoke your blessing to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Savior, that we might receive You in the Eucharist.

I saw a sign somewhere recently that said: If you want a better pastor, pray for the one you have!

We have a priest to guide our parish. But he needs our help. How can we help?

Pray for him daily.

Pray for God to bless him with wisdom, with courage, to anoint his teaching and preaching.

Encourage him ...let him know when his homily touches your heart, when his prayers make a difference, when his jokes make you smile.

Let him know when you don’t understand something. Seek his counsel. Invite him to your home for a meal (his tastes are simple!).

And pray for him some more. Don’t know what to pray? Try this, from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests.

Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.

Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.

Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.


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