When you read this, I’ll be getting ready to go on my way back to the people of the St. Louis area and to the people I know from birth.
Words don’t come easy. I only know what is in my heart. I have seen your Parish and St. Francois County and met the people here, and they were very kind to me. Yet this is not my people and not where I’m from. I am proud of who I am. I do not want to be someone I’m not. If I did, I’d fail. I’d fail you and fail myself and all of my people. Many priests grow old and die and never know the happiness I’ve had. For this, I’ll always be grateful. Now, there are others who love you and need you, as you’ll need them in the years that lie ahead.
There is much we can both do for our parishes and families. Many things we have learned from each other to teach to others: patience, kindness and the wisdom to know the truth!
You’d not let me say these things to you, but in your heart, you know they are true. You’ll be sad as I am sad, and you’ll think of me as I think of you in the many years to come.
When you see a river of white water dancing in the sun; or clouds hanging high above the hills and mountains; but soon these memories will grow dim; as memories should; and there will be other memories to take their place. May they be happy ones for you. As happy as those we have shared these past four years. All the days of your life!