Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi,

May the Lord give you peace.

I thank you for the privilege of ministering with, to, and for you. It has been a great grace for me to be here with you. I have enjoyed these three years. You have generously shared your lives with me and the friars. It has been a great blessing to participate in the ministry of healing experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. The honesty and the spiritual depth of the sharing in those moments are experiences of the Lord’s presence for me. Likewise, the celebrations of the Eucharist and preaching are blessings. You have responded graciously and been engaged in these celebrations. We, St. Francis Church, are quite popular with the live-stream community.

The pastoral ministry team and the entire staff are remarkably dedicated to ministry. They are committed to you and to using their gifts to build up the Body of Christ as realized at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The spirit of St. Francis thrives here in the energy and joy that abounds.

I honestly did not know what to expect when I was asked to leave Hartford and come here. I found incredible goodness and a gracious welcome (however socially distant in September 2020). I am grateful to have had the privilege to be with you, even for a short time. I ask your continued prayers for the friars and your welcome of your new pastor, Fr. Joe Juracek, ofm. I will remember you in my prayer with gratitude.

I will head to St. Petersburg, Florida, to minister with our senior friars next week. This is a significant change in ministry for me. I was surprised to be asked to pick up and go south! I have packed my sunscreen and my hats!

I am sure I will be back to visit.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Tom, ofm