Fr. Francis’ Farewell Message
Parishioners of St Mary- Aberdeen; OLGH -Hoquiam; St Jerome – Ocean Shores; St. Anne -Forks; St Paul – Westport; OLO – Amanda Park; St Thomas – Clallam Bay.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I wanted to take this opportunity to send a note of THANKS AND APPRECIATION to you as I move on to my next assignment in ministry.
If I could write a letter just filled with the words “thank you” over and over, it seems that I would never be able to write enough of them to truly express how I feel about the time I spent here serving as your Parochial Vicar (one year) and Priest Administrator (four years).
From the joy of baptisms, weddings, first communions, confirmations, welcoming our new Catholics through RCIA, hearing the beautiful sounds of children laughing, visiting your homes, listening to your stories of how Christ has touched your lives, meditating together on the word of God, quinceañeras, and our celebration of the Eucharist together, to the sadness of praying by the bedside of a loved one and anointing them with the soothing oil of God’s tenderness, or sharing in the grief of laying a loved one to rest in the hope of eternal life – these and so many more have helped me to grow closer to Jesus and lead you closer to Christ and His Church.
I loved the celebration of the Eucharist with devotion and sincere respect so that it would become the real source and summit of our spiritual lives. I always remembered what St. Mother Teresa said, Priest of Jesus Christ, celebrate this Holy Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass…
Let us pray that the Good Shepherd touch the heart of many men and women and respond to the call to priesthood and religious life.
I am overwhelmed with an experience of gratitude as I recall the five years of my priesthood that I have spent here at all the seven Churches.
IN THANKSGIVING FOR:
- To God for the gift of holy Priesthood.
- To the Archdiocese of Seattle for the opportunity, privilege of being able to serve as your Priest here for the last five years.
- To you dear parishioners, for your faith, your love, and your devotion to Jesus. My own faith journey has been helped by being part of yours. I am so grateful to each of you for the impact that you have had on me, and my faith as we have grown together as disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you for accepting me as your brother in Christ. I appreciate your faith, commitment, openness, prayers, encouragements, and support. I am grateful to you for your kindness and generosity, which you have shown me in so many ways.
- The dedication, support, and laughter of the regional office staff.
- The support and cooperation of the different parish pastoral councils and parish contacts.
- The commitment and enthusiasm of the many involved in the various ministries of our parishes as volunteers.
- The support and participation of the Knights of Columbus councils, parish, and different groups.
- The gift of so many children and their smiling faces and openness.
- The hope and energy of the young people of the parishes.
- The wisdom and example of our seniors.
- The faith and dedication of the people of all the parishes in which I have served.
- The commitment, involvement and cheerfulness of St Mary School principal, teachers, parents, and the students.
- The opportunity to serve and visit with the sick – GHCH, nursing homes, correction centers.
- You have helped me to grow in my relationship with God and His Church. THANK YOU!
I also want to say I am sorry. Jesus is perfect, but we are not yet perfect – me included. Please forgive me for any time that I might have treated you with less than the dignity and respect you are owed.
Lastly, I want to say I love you. You are a wonderful community of family and faith, and I treasure each of you. Even as I go forth to my new assignment in India, I will always hold you all in my heart, especially at the altar of God.
I would like to close with two of my favorite Scripture passages from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians: 1:3-6, 9-11 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Fr. Francis Arulappan HGN
Set apart for the Gospel of God (Rom 1:1)