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Father Muench Says...

Spending a week in prayer and gratitude

Aug. 14, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

This week, I am visiting the Sacred Heart Villa, this is the retirement home for the priests and brothers of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

This is the religious congregation that has administered Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown from 1876. 
The priests and brothers of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart have been part of the Diocese of Ogdensburg since the very beginning of the diocese. 

I was invited by my friend, Father Dick Kennedy, to present a retreat for the priests and brothers who are in residence here at the Villa. 

I must admit that this retreat is a real challenge.  The priests and brothers who are now in retirement have had very impressive careers – they have served parishes in the foreign missions, as well as here in this country.

They are truly outstanding.  Now they live in this great facility in well-deserved retirement. 

I have been praying hard each day that I can present something of value to them.

I chose the theme of gratitude for the retreat.  I want this to be a week of gratitude to them for their dedication and faith filled devotion to the Church.

I want this to be a week of gratitude to all the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in gratitude for all they have meant to the Catholic Church – and also the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Then I want to join personally with these priests and brothers in expressing our gratitude to God for the gift of our vocation. 

I want to join with them in thanking God for the gifts each one of us has received to be effective in bringing the message of Jesus – in bringing the Spirit of God – to others.

I want to join with them in gratitude to God for his direction, guidance and protection.  I am certain that these missionaries are especially grateful to God for protecting them in those foreign countries.

In this Spirit of gratitude we will also prayerfully remember those many, many wonderful people who have supported us over the years.

We remember and pray for our parents, teachers, dedicated pastors, counselors who have made us who we are.  I know, personally, many names have come to mind this week – names of very special people in my life who have made me who I am. 

I am eternally grateful to God for placing them in my life.

Finally, I thank God for those who I considered difficult – for those I thought make my life difficult – for those who were sort of enemies – for in many ways, they were good for me.

The challenges they presented were moments of formation for me.  I am saddened that I may well have failed in such relationships but I know they were good for me.

So – as I prepare this day’s presentations – I turn to the Lord to guide me – and thank God who always walks with me – each day.

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