05-21-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Charlie Goraieb

Dear Friends,

Serving as your pastor these last two years have been a gift from the Lord at this late stage in my priestly ministry. As many of you know, OLMC was my home parish for 3 years before entering the seminary. Fr. (Msgr.) McCready, the pastor, was a wise and kind mentor, helping me to grasp a good understanding of the practicalities of the priesthood. He gave me a room in the rectory during vacations and even saw to it that I had a few extra dollars in my pocket.

There were, however a few tense moments when I thought my vocation might be in danger. Like the time I borrowed Fr. McCready’s prized graphite-shaft golf driver without asking permission, only to see the clubhead fly off the shaft on the driving range. That easily could have been the end of my seminary days, but eventually cooler heads prevailed (that I got the club repaired quickly certainly didn’t hurt matters).

It was Fr. McCready who vested me on the day of my ordination and who allowed me to celebrate my first Mass the next day right here at OLMC. I thank God for him and for all of the kind people of this parish who prayed for me and encouraged me to pursue God’s calling.

Fast forward 30 years; Bishop Olmsted asked me to return here to serve as the interim pastor (parochial administrator) for a year until a long-term assignment can be made. Following Fr. John, your beloved pastor who served for over 20 years, was more challenging than I anticipated. There was a necessary adjustment period for us all but, thankfully by Thanksgiving the dust had settled and we were on our way.

One thing I did not see coming was the Lord’s mandate to me to initiate the building of an adoration chapel. It is true that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been the bedrock of my priesthood, but that is personal. When the Lord revealed to me (and confirmed in many ways) that He wanted a chapel at OLMC, I felt compelled under obedience to put out into the deep. With your enthusiastic response and your lightening-speed funding of the project, it became evident that this indeed was the Lord’s Will for OLMC.

The actual nuts and bolts of finishing the plans, getting permits and beginning construction has gone slower than I would have liked, but the project is in good hands and, God willing, construction will begin before too long. With Fr. Robert at the helm, OLMC will have a perpetual adoration chapel.

In thinking about what I especially appreciate about you, the members of OLMC, the list would include your fierce loyalty to your parish community, your love for each other, your extraordinary school which has impacted so many of you and your generosity to the parish, the poor and the needy. I also honor you for your strong sensus fidei- your understanding of the faith and the need to walk with the Church.

Please accept my sincere apology for those times when I may have disappointed you in my leadership and pastoral care. We priests make Jesus Christ present to you through the sacraments and our preaching, but we do so as flawed earthen vessels.

I am still scheduled to celebrate Mass for a few more Sundays, but today I ask you to pray for me and to know that serving you has been a crowning joy of my priesthood.