It is hard to believe that we are down to just 10 more days here in Windsor-Essex. Things keep changing rapidly these past few days. So much so, my head is spinning.  Today our truck left Tecumseh bound for London with all of our stuff. It has me really taking seriously now the fact that we are leaving and it has me reminiscing and looking back. Corrie Ten Boom writes in The Hiding Place “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” The more I look back, the more I realize how wonderfully preparatory this community has been for me….I just am uncertain about what God has been preparing me for. I am excited about the fact that in a couple of short weeks I will be getting to know a new community in London, Ontario. The people of St. Aidan’s have been marvellous in helping us make the move and the transition and for that I am most grateful. Time will be the mechanism through which God will reveal how the experience I have gained at St. Mark’s will instruct my future at St. Aidan’s and beyond. I look forward to finding out what I might be able to do with what the servants of Christ at St. Mark’s have taught me in their strong ministry.

But there is much to do in the next days. Friday we will have the Roast of Kevin served well done from what I hear. It is the parish and the communities chance to come together to say farewell to me and to Catherinanne. I understand that there are over 200 tickets sold, so it should be a great party. I look forward to the laughs. I suspect there may be a tear as well. Sunday we have church at 8 am at St. Mark’s and again at 10:30 am at the Optimist Park in Tecumseh, followed by our annual Parish Picnic…with BBQ provided by the K of C.  Then we have July 1st, our last Sunday with the people of St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. It will be a big day and I do hope t see as many of you as can come so that we have the chance to say good bye to you and thank you all for all that you have done for us over the past 13 plus years.

Today was also my last Wednesday morning Mass. Wednesdays have become an important part of my weekly spiritual discipline. I love the fact that we gather each week around a simple table, without vestments, without all the extras and break bread together. I love that the prayers of the people are highlighted on Wednesdays. Silence is comfortable for folks on Wednesday. Love is poured out. The peace is a very meaningful act.  The time together over lunch after church is equally enriching. We break bread again and commune with one another again. Today the group brought a cake – thank you Grace Forster offering us best wishes.

It was really a special day. In worship today we shared our stories of “remember when…” It was really touching to hear the many stories and to have opportunity to laugh and cry together. Perhaps today was made more special by the fact that our good friend Chris Hornby, who is an inspiration to us all, was back in attendance after a five week hospital stay. I was particularly moved by Chris’s impassioned words about my hospital visits. Chris is grateful to me, but truth be told, I need to thank him for always being such a strong and loving young man who is positive in the face of all storms.  Chris is simply remarkable. 

Today I had opportunity  to tell the congregation how very much I love them and how wonderful it has been to worship with a group each Wednesday who care so deeply about their faith and about their fellow pilgrims on the journey. In a little over a week I will have opportunity to say more about this at my last Masses with the community. St. Mark’s is a special place, a wonderful place and a place that exemplifies well the Body of Christ.

These next days will not be easy, but they will be healing for us all. I look forward to seeing folks from my community and telling them how I feel about them. I really am not a big fan of long goodbyes. That said, I have appreciated the many ways people have chosen to tell us that they love us and to express their support and congratulations to us.  I know there will be a tear or two before this is all over, but let’s celebrate and give thanks — we have a few laughs ahead of us yet.