A Letter from Father Paul
Alex Haley, the author of Roots, used to have a picture in his office, showing a turtle sitting atop a fence post.The picture was there to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: If you see a turtle on a post, you know it had some help. Whenever he began feeling proud of an accomplishment, he would remember that, like the turtle, he needed help.
My first weekend as your Pastor, I said that I would get a lot of credit for things parishioners do. So many of the good things that have happened during our time together are the result of staff and parishioners. Other good things are due to the grace of God. When people praise me for a homily, I usually say something like, “God had blessed me. Thank God!”
I am certain that no one who has heard me preach for a while will be the least bit surprised that there are three primary points I want to make.
First, I am grateful to God and to you for blessing me in so many ways. Winnie the Pooh told his friends, “How Lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I agree with Winnie the Pooh. Thank you very much.
Second, I ask forgiveness for some of the things I have said and done or didn’t say or do that hurt you. There are somethings that I just wasn’t able to do. I am sorry.
Third, I want to offer encouragement. Priests come and go, but as Letter to the Hebrews declares, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” You all are the Body of Christ in Raleigh County. With God all things ARE possible.
The word goodbye doesn’t show up in the English language until the 16th century. It evolved over time, a contraction of a phrase, God be with thee, God be with you. For centuries before that, when people were departing, they didn’t just say, I’m leaving. They offered, God be with you. It was a prayer, a heartfelt wish. A benediction. This is my prayer: “May God be with you!”
My addresses are:
USPS: Saint Brendan the Navigator Church; 5101 Ocean Highway, W; Shallotte, NC 28470