Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Fans of the hit comedy, M*A*S*H, which aired for 11 seasons and ended in 1983, may recall the title of the final two-hour episode: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen. I use this expression not to evoke images of concluding a war, as in the television show that chronicled the human side of the Korean Conflict, but to highlight the affection and friendship the sit-com portrayed, growing relationships into a prayer that concluded with Amen.

During the past five years of writing a weekly reflection, a bit of a community has grown, whether virtually or among friends and faith communities, to discuss some of the themes and ideas presented in DeSales Weekly. I realize we lost a number of subscribers as I attempted to intersect the Gospel and Salesian spirituality with pressing issues such as gun violence, immigration, hunger, and economic inequality; please know that my intention was never to offend. However, my favorite part of this Thursday email is the presentation of the Scriptures for Sunday Mass. We hoped that, with Fr. Michael Murray’s solid Salesian reflection, after perusing the readings a few days before worshipping, readers would be alert to the Spirit when the Word is proclaimed at church.

With July 1 approaching, this will be the last DeSales Weekly I write. My ministry as the province’s director of development and communications will end, and I look forward to new work at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. Last week at our annual convocation, we Oblates elected a new leadership team. Fr. Lou Fiorelli will serve as provincial, and he will be assisted by provincial councilors, Frs. Michael Murray, Jack Kolodziej, Michael Vannicola, and Matt Hillyard. Once Fr. Lou settles into his new role, I am sure that he will offer a message through DeSales Weekly.

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I thank my colleagues, Ian Kelley and Paula M. Riley, for their active role in editing and distributing this e-newsletter. I am grateful to Joseph McDaniel, our Oblate seminarian and high-quality writer, for his monthly contributions over the last two years. I also thank our now-former provincial, Fr. Jim Greenfield, whose dedicated service over the past 10 years inspired new ways of sharing our Salesian charism. Most importantly, I thank you, our friends who have supported our province in a variety of ways, with your prayers, generosity, and enthusiasm for our spirit. One chief way you supported us was to recommend to your friends a subscription to DeSales Weekly. Through the years we have grown to more than 12,000 readers.

We always pray that our Salesian hearts are filled with gentleness and humility, for St. Francis de Sales cherished the gospel verse where Jesus says to “learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Today, our hearts are also filled with gratitude.

Thanks for deleting us with gentleness.