June 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

"You never leave a place you love.  Part of it you take with you leaving a part of you behind."  I do not know the author of this quotation, but I know that the words conveyed are true.  As I leave this parish family of St. John the Evangelist, I give thanks to God for the blessing and privilege of accompanying you the last two years in this pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Three weeks ago at the 140th Anniversary Parish Festival, I shared with Fr. Derek Thome and the crowd gathered that night, that the two of us were about to begin a formation in a new seminary.  He will continue his formation as a priest at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Wichita, and I will continue my formation as a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish in El Dorado.  Fr. Derek has been ordained three weeks and I have been ordained thirty years.  Our formation is never completed as priests and neither is the faith formation for any of you.  There is no graduation from faith formation!

God has truly blessed and continued to bless this parish for 140 years since its birth in 1878.  Generations that have gone before us have formed us in the Catholic Faith.  By our Baptism, we now are called to pass on that Faith to the generations that follow us.  There is a great blessing in knowing that we are on a pilgrim journey to one destination - the Kingdom of God.

Please know that as I celebrate Mass at the Altar of St. John the Evangelist Parish in El Dorado, I will pray for you as you gather around the Altar to celebrate Mass at the Altar of St. John tht eEvangelist Parish in Clonmel.  (It is 49.7 miles from one Altar to the other.  You know me and my love for numbers)!

I have no doubt that you will warmly welcome Fr. Joe Tatro as your new shepherd.  You are blessed indeed to receive such a gifted and holy pastor.  He is blessed to receive such a holy parish family as St. John the Evangelist.

"May the Lord bles syou and keep you.  May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.  May the Lord look upon you kindly and keep you in his peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

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