They say, “How time flies when you are having fun!” Well, I must have been having lots of fun as the last decade has flown by. Do you realize that I have been here at St. Austin Parish as the pastor for ten full years already? Yes, it was the first days of July 2010 when I arrived from San Francisco to become your pastor.
A great deal has happened during that decade. When I arrived, the parish was still hurting from the unfortunate and unexpected death of Fr. Jim Wiesner, CSP. We have had building projects, weddings, funerals, hundreds of Masses, old parishioners move on, new parishioners come, programs flourish, die, get reinvented, and more than a few laughs and glasses of wine.
When I first arrived, I wrote a bulletin column about myself as a self-introduction. At that time I said in part:
“Howdy! While I usually make it a point to NOT write extensively about myself, since that is a rather boring topic, none-the-less by way of introduction allow me to indulge in bending your figurative ear for a bit.
First of all, I am very happy and excited to be with you here at St. Austin’s. I am looking forward to meeting you all, getting to know you, working with you on the mission of our parish and best of all worshiping and praying with you all. …
Secondly, it will be a big adjustment for me to the climate of Austin….
Next, I hope to learn all of your names. However, the part of my brain that retains names does not work very well. It never has. So I ask your indulgence and please tell me your name at least a dozen times. Eventually it will stick. I also have trouble with spelling. Both names of people and objects, and the correct spellings of words, strike me as arbitrary, and for some reason that makes it difficult for me to retain. So I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Also, I do not have the kind of personality that usually comes on strongly at the beginning. My experience over and over, with moves from Alaska to Chicago to South Carolina to New York to San Francisco is that people like me, but it takes a while. So I respectfully request that you do not rush to any judgments about my character or abilities, but give it a while and see what happens.
Finally I am not a very patient person. I come by impatience honestly, as my dear Mother was not at all patient. This aspect of my personality surfaces commonly when I am driving. Through practice and aging I have gotten better, but at times I can still appear abrupt. This is not a calculated affront, but an unfortunate habit of character. I am hoping that the more relaxed Texan approach to life will assist me in improving on this trait.
Well, that is enough about me. I am sure you will soon be able to form your own opinions. I hope you will like what you find. …”
Well, that is what I wrote ten year ago. Was I right? In any case, it has been a great pleasure, and often an adventure, to walk with you the last ten years on the journey to the Kingdom. Now on to the next ten years!!! Oh my!