Thou Gavest them Bread from Heaven
There are many days when I still remember the excitement of moving from Ellsworth Kansas with my adorable wife of 4 years and our 4-month-old son, and arriving at Nashotah House (seminary) in Wisconsin. Our 1965 Midnight Orchid, Corvair Corsa convertible was equal to the task! We knew that “leaving it all behind” is simply a part of responding to God’s call, and when child #2 was born in Wisconsin, we knew that with no income and with mounting education bills, day to day living would have its challenges. But day to day living was glorious. I knew I was called to serve the Lord when I was 5 years old, and by the age of 12 I knew I was called to be a priest. But even with the challenges, God provided. God gave me a wife and children who from the beginning were supportive of the call. He called me to be a priest, but He also placed His hand on my dear wife, son, and daughter, and then added to the family another precious daughter - all of whom were committed to parish life and serving Jesus, and to this day continue in their faithfulness. It may well be that there will be others who will exclusively think of me in other ways - as a Deacon, as a Priest, and as a Bishop, but if they wished to see the formation, they would see a husband, a wife, and three little children kneeling together each night before a family “altar” with a Crucifix and holy plaques of our Patron Saints whom each night, we asked for intercession: St. Mary, St. Joseph, St. Francis, St. Clare, and St. Dominic. In spite of having our churches for 15 years located immediately next door to us, the family altar each night was where we knelt to realize our vocations as a clergy family. It was from these prayers that additional calls and ministries would come. Those calls and ministries are found on my Resume. If one would wish to see where those calls were nurtured and why prayer replaced potential anger, anxiety, frustrations, and conflict, they would have needed to kneel with us each night. The fruits of those prayers are not to be found solely on a Sunday morning where for 45 years I have celebrated Mass, 25 years as a Bishop, but rather in the lives of my wife, children and grandchildren, as they, likewise, kneel Sunday after
Sunday, making Jesus first in their lives.
Those nights before the family altar shaped deacon’s/priest’s/bishop’s wife and three children, all of whom are engaged in important ministries and whose lives have touched other lives, and where they “wash feet.” All of this because of God’s grace, with Jesus using each of them, and with them, like the Blessed Mother saying, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” From my earliest age, I said those words, but when God added four people to my life, I was more able to respond to His various calls.............and it continues to this day. Jesus is the Bread of Heaven. He called me to serve Him, and my family by being so “low maintenance” and equally committed to Jesus, day after day, Sunday after Sunday, make it possible to focus on that call.
A special “Thank you” to all who attended on Thursday night for the Feast of Corpus Christi, and for all who offered prayers. God bless