I am sorry it has taken me until now to get this post on the blog. Since we had “technical difficulties” for almost a week I am just getting around to it. Last week we said goodbye to Father Pete. We are so grateful that he was able to come back to assist us here at Saint Anthony’s again this summer. Father Pete always adds so much life and love to our parish community when he is here. Father Pete and I miss his daily presence in the rectory very much. It is as if there is a void here and we sense it.
Father Pete put it best in his farewell remarks to the parish in last weeks bulletin - ”When I arrived the first year I felt like “Father”, my second year I felt like a “friend” but this time I truly felt like I was part of a “family”. And, it is true, Father Pete really has become part of our family here at Saint Anthony’s. We will always be grateful for the time you have spent with us and for all you have given us through your prayerfully celebrated liturgies and homilies, your art work, music and simply by your beautiful presence which continues to inspire us daily. We give thanks to God for your life, your priesthood and most particularly for allowing us the priviledge to have crossed paths with you in this life.
We will miss you until we see you again. And, we hope you will be able to return very soon. God bless you Father Pete until we meet again!
Last Monday, Father Peter, me and some of the members of our staff took Father Pete for a farewell lunch at an Indian restaurant in New Rochelle. I am a little fussy on food believe it or not so it was a bit of an adventure for me but I would do anything for Father Pete!
Last Tuesday we prepare to depart from Saint Anthony’s on our way to Newark Airport.
We are getting closer to the airport and we were both sad!
We have arrived at Newark Airport and we are preparing to enter the terminal.
Father Pete is checked in and ready to go. But we weren’t ready to let him go.
Father Pete stands on the security line waiting to enter the concourse leading to his gate. An interesting aside here. At this point both Father Pete and I were a bit sad. It had been a great summer filled with a lot of happy memories. I think we both wanted that to continue. We gave each other an embrace and said goodbye. At precisely that moment a man approached me and asked me if I would hear his confession. I told him I would be delighted to do so. Father Pete walked onto the line and I went with the man to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a nearby quiet hallway away from the busyness of the security checkpoint. Later as I thought about it more deeply I believed God had sent that man at that moment to distract us from our own self-pity and momentary sadness and to remind us both that we were priests and that we had work to do even in the middle of an busy airport. Father Pete agreed with me and we both thanked God again for the priesthood that we are priviledged to share and we marveled again at the mystery of God’s love and grace!
I tracked Father Pete’s flight as he crossed over the North Atlantic. Interestingly, his flight path took him right over the top of Saint Anthony’s at about 12,000 feet as he departed from Newark en route to Frankfurt on the first leg of his journey.
Father Pete’s flight track across the Atlantic to Frankfurt.
It is a bit difficult to see in this image because it is distorted but if you look carefully you can see that Father Pete has arrived safely home at Chennai/Madras Airport literally on the other side of the world.