From the Office of the Bishop:
Reverend Robert Ring has resigned as pastor of Saint Louis Church in Pittsford for personal reasons and has requested and has been granted a personal leave of absence. There is no allegation of sex abuse involved in this leave of absence. Reverend Robert Kennedy has agreed to administer the parish until a new pastor is appointed by Bishop Matano. Please keep Father Ring, Father Kennedy and the parish in your prayers.
A Message from Fr. Bob:
Lord, I want to see! What better to ask? This dialogue sets the stage for one of the powerful miracles during Jesus’ earthly ministry. But it has also been preserved in the Gospels because for the earliest Christian community, and in every generation since, believers have asked that the Lord help them to see, and miraculously, Jesus does open our eyes. That is central to becoming a disciple, and living as one! Sometimes Jesus opens our eyes to see that person we have trouble forgiving is a person who is trying their best, not an enemy. Sometimes he helps us see gifts in others, or in ourselves. Often he opens our eyes to see ourselves more clearly, and discover the path we need to walk, the journey that will make us whole. He helps us to see too that the cross is a place of victory, not defeat! What a grace and miracle it is in each case!
Recently, after saying ‘Lord, I want to see!”, Jesus did answer my prayer.
Remember that book by Matthew Kelly we distributed this year at Christmas, Resisting Happiness? In chapter 5, "Life is Messy", Matthew wrote: “The lesson I learned is that someone can look perfectly fine, but you never know what is going on inside – and everyone has something going on inside” He went on to say “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
I could go on quoting chapter by chapter, because it is all so true to life. I hope you have had a chance to read it before we distribute the next Christmas book, and truly hope that it has helped open your eyes to new perspectives, new ways of seeing God, yourself and others.
In June on retreat I prayed “Lord, I want to see”, and the Lord did open my eyes to things I need to work on if I want to be the best version of myself and the best priest I can be for the people God calls me to serve. I also prayed that Mary, the undoer of knots, would untie some knots in my life. I believe both prayers are being answered, even if not as I expected or at the pace I was hoping. It appears that conquering some of my blindness will be more like the early miracle in Mark's Gospel, rather than this one. When encountering and healing a blind man earlier in Mark’s Gospel, it was a two-stage process. After the first thing Jesus did, the man’s eyes were opened, but people looked like sticks. It took a second step for a full healing. I’m seeing the retreat in June as step one, but have come to believe more is really needed, and Mary will undo the knots, but not magically. She will help, but I have some hard work ahead if I am to take full advantage of the help she is lovingly giving.
All this is to say that I have asked Bishop Matano to grant me a temporary leave of absence, to do more serious work on the personal issues that keep me from being the pastor I truly can be if the knots are untied and the issues transformed by God’s grace. I love you, this community, and all of the people of God I have served through the years. But to give what the Lord wants me to give, I have some hard work to do.
Change is hard. Don’t believe anyone who tries to sell you shortcuts. I’m learning first hand just how hard change is. Please pray that God gives me the grace to do all that I need to do, that Mary the undoer of knots will show me the way to undo the knots that hold me back, and that the investment of time will be not only for my benefit, but especially for the lives of those God calls me to serve. Thank you for being such a gift. You can be assured of my prayers during the days ahead.