Each season for the past twelve years, I have posted reflections on this Web Site for the many of you who have faithfully followed this column, and these reflections have been routinely e-mailed to Saint Francis Staff Members and Board Members as well. I have been grateful for the opportunity to communicate with you in this way for so long. I have come to regard you as valued people in my life even though I have not actually met a lot of you. This reflection, in fact, will be the last one I will post because I will be retiring from my position as President, Dean, and CEO of Saint Francis as of the first of July.
Summer is a favorite time for many of us. It often allows us a chance to change our routines, take vacations to new or favorite locations ,and spend more time with our families—especially any children who are out of school during these months. There are certainly some new challenges that come with summer changes, as with all change, but there are also some exciting opportunities.
That is certainly the case for Mother Sheila and me this year. With our retirements from Saint Francis will come a move to a new home in a new city, the chance to live near one of our daughters and our grandson, and new ministry opportunities for us both. There are challenges, excitement, the sadness of goodbyes, and the joy of a move to be nearer family ahead of us. We are confident in the knowledge that God will be with us every step of the way even though we have a less clear picture of what the next years will bring than we have had for quite some time.
I am very thankful for the twenty-one years I have had with Saint Francis. I feel very privileged to have been able to influence the lives of so many children and their families, staff members, Board Members, church members all around the country, and others who have been such an integral part of this ministry through prayers, donations, and caring.
Pentecost and the months following the celebration of that event, which is so important in the lives of all Christians, is a marker in this hemisphere that summer has arrived. Pentecost celebrates the descending of the Holy Spirit upon those faithful followers of Jesus who, as Jesus had told them to do at the time of his Ascension to heaven, were waiting for the promised empowering that the Spirit would bring into their lives. This gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us, strengthen us, and empower us to do the work of Jesus is as much a gift to us as it was to those first disciples of our Lord. The work of Jesus continues to be to reach out to our neighbors with the love of God. We know the answer that Jesus gave to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Our neighbor is anyone who is in need.
I leave you with a thank you to each one of you and the charge to continue to serve God in the various ways you have been called to serve. Always remember that you have the gift of the Holy Spirit with you as long as you seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. May God continue to bless Saint Francis and its holy work, and may God bless you always.