Thanks to Fr. Larry Zurek, OFM, for substituting for me at Sunday Masses last week. I was celebrating Mass for the 50-year Reunion of alumni and alumnae of Roger Bacon and Our Lady of the Angels High Schools at 9:30 AM last Sunday. Coincidentally, a significant number of the folks celebrating at Roger Bacon were St. Clement parishioners. Anyway, it’s nice to be able to call on Fr. Larry from time to time. I’m sure that last summer when he first arrived, I mentioned in a bulletin letter that he is a veteran pastor who is now, along with another friar, serving the province as our Vocation Director. Recently, Fr. Larry also took a Mass for our school children. I know you’ll see more of him in the months to come.
I have wonderful news! Deacon John Gerke has requested returning to ministry at St. Clement. He approached me in February and, after discussing his request with Fr. Jim and the staff, and talking with David Harcourt who, as you know, is formally proceeding with formation for the permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese (Dave has around three more years before ordination), I enthusiastically expressed our openness to welcome Deacon John. I also presented this to the Parish Pastoral Council. I recently received a copy of the formal letter from the Archbishop assigning him to St. Clement. This past weekend, Deacon John announced to the parishioners at Holy Family Church in Price Hill that he had received a new assignment from the Archdiocese. Of course, John and Colleen have never left St. Clement. His mom and dad and siblings happily call St. Clement home. John was ordained a deacon in 2007 and, according to archdiocesan protocol, began ministry at home parish St. Clement. It was because of ministerial need and John’s unique gifts, that in 2012, he accepted an assignment at Holy Family. You will be hearing more in a future bulletin about the areas in which Deacon John will serve. When I spoke with Dave Harcourt, his response was so positive: “If one deacon is a blessing for a parish, then a parish with two deacons is twice-blessed.” Deacon John will likely begin actively serving here June 1, though I bet you will see him around from time to time in coming weeks. I trust you know that John’s ministry among us receives no financial compensation.
While sharing the good news about Deacon John, I also have sad news. Sister Death has welcomed another faithful parishioner, Mary Bray, at the relatively young age of 74. Her passing was sudden and unexpected. Those who knew Mary are aware of her unflagging commitment to the cause of life—especially that of the unborn. She was indefatigable in her support of anti-abortion activities throughout the Cincinnati area. You may know that Mary coordinated our monthly afternoon of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the monthly Rosary for Life, and the Saturday morning Divine Mercy Prayers after the 8:00 AM Mass. She also coordinated the collection of pastries for lunches after funerals. Well, she is now enjoying the rewards of her labors with the One who is Life itself. May God give comfort to family members and friends who grieve her passing and may Mary bless St. Clement Parish from her eternal home.
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