My dear people of St. Mary’s:
Last week I received the letter I post below. It is from a former parishioner of mine, in another parish. I was only one of a number of priests to whom the letter was addressed. I received it when I happened to be with a group of priest friends, and I was so moved by the letter that I immediately shared it with them. We all agreed that a letter like this can more than make up for many criticisms. Priests are ordained to serve the Lord and His people, and we do it not for thanks or accolades, but for love. However, on a human level, it is good once in a while to see the fruits of our labors.
A Letter to All the Priests Who Have Influenced My Daughter Over the Years
I just want to let you all know that your efforts are working. I came home yesterday to hear a story from my wife that our daughter, Mary, went to Mass. I assume most of you know that Mary left last weekend to go to college out of state. My wife told me that Mary was surprised to see how many people were at the mass. She said it was a really good experience and she met new friends. So, I want you to know that all the work you priests do every day, is working. Our daughter told us that when she said she was going to mass, some of her friends at school took a few jabs at her when she left, but nothing bad. She took it, but realized that some joked only because they didn’t know how to react. One of her friends said later that he would go with her next week. Mary walked into the mass and introduced herself to the priest (which I was shocked at, since she is usually shy) and he immediately asked Mary to do a reading. She panicked, but did it. She said that Father did a great job, and she looks forward to going back. I am writing to you to say thanks. All of you have had an impact on my life, and now Mary’s. I believe all of you know that I was away from the Church for a long period of time. I hope that none of my kids make that same mistake.
I also don’t like to boast about my kids. But I feel like you all should know about this. You have all played a part in Mary going to mass yesterday. My wife and I have always tried to have our kids be independent. Mary is at college now, and when she left we asked her to continue to go to Mass while at school, but we know that she has to make that decision on her own.
She did, and I have all of you to thank for playing a part in that. Now the work continues with my other daughter and son!