Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fr. Collins - on his association with St. Luke's parish

Dear Parishioners of St. Luke’s Parish,
When I was ordained to the priesthood in the chapel of the American College of the Immaculate
Conception in Louvain, Belgium, on June 28, 1959, I could hardly imagine that one day, in what then seemed to be a far distant future, I would celebrate the golden jubilee of my ordination. Even less could I imagine the journey on which fifty years of ministerial priesthood would lead me.

The one constant in my ministerial life, at least since 1972, has been my association with St. Luke’s. I always wanted to be a parish priest. You, the parishioners of St. Luke’s, have provided me with a base parish from which I could minister throughout the world. For providing me with a base and some stability in a peripatetic and largely academic life, along with so much personal support and so many memories during these fifty years, I want to thank each and every one of you.

As I look back to June 28, 2009, I want to thank all who participated in the Liturgy of Thanksgiving that I was privileged to celebrate in your midst on that day. I want to thank Fr. Bob, who “made” it happen, Fr. Luke, who is just forty-nine years behind me in priestly ministry, and Ann Marie, who put so much time and effort into the preparations. The liturgy was special. Steve Kirby and David Lauria, together with the members of the adult and contemporary choirs, made it so, as did the readers, Eucharistic ministers, and acolytes, to all of whom I am very grateful. The “simple” reception that followed the liturgy was attended not only by members of my family but also a good number of people who have been my friends for seventy years. All of them have spoken about the beautiful liturgy and the great reception. The reception could not have happened without a generous contribution of time and effort from the organizers, those who prepared the hall and food, those who served the food, and those who “cleaned up”. To all of you who made the reception happen I can only say, “Thanks so much.” Finally, I want to thank so many of you – including many who could not be present on the day of the liturgy – who expressed your support, congratulations, and best wishes in a card or note.
Thanks to all of you for so much.
Fr. Ray

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