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Father Muench Says...

God transforms my days and my life

May 12, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I am forever surprised how God sends little things, simple experiences that bring joy and peace to a day, transforming so much and making the day brighter and more meaningful. I am constantly grateful to God for sending such experiences each day to me.

Here is such an experience that happened to me yesterday: On Mondays here in this parish, there is an hour of confessions scheduled here in the afternoon. Yesterday, the last person to come in was a woman, who was obviously pregnant. She told me this was to be the week for the birth.

I immediately told her that we just had to have a special blessing. So, after confession, we located her husband and moved to the front of the Church. I found a great blessing in the book – a blessing for a woman about to give birth. I must admit, I was so pleased to be able to offer this couple the Church’s blessing as they were preparing for the birth of their child. I did not know them personally, but on that day, I became a part of their family.

By the way, I was reminded again when I was invited by Susan and Paul to accompany them to the birth of their second child, Will, now 22 years ago. That continues to be the most exciting day of my life.

My priesthood has been filled, almost day by day, with the Lord sending me wonderful and meaningful experiences – often simple and surprising, but always powerful. I think of this because I was ordained in the month of May. These days I have been celebrating my anniversary of my ordination as a priest, a time for remembrance.

I must admit that right from the start, my priesthood was filled with surprises. I grew up in the city of Syracuse, but for various reasons, I decided to study for the Diocese of Ogdensburg. So, I entered Wadhams Hall and began to study for the priesthood and began to meet many lifelong friends and discover North Country places that I did not know existed as a kid.

Each anniversary, I recall each of the assignments I have been privileged to serve. I continue to thank God for those assignments. They were all great. And I must say again, they were all surprises and filled with constant surprises.

As a priest I have served many excellent bishops, and they have all become friends. I am so pleased that in recent years that our present bshop is one of our own priests, Bishop Terry LaValley. This past year in retirement, I have moved to Syracuse. Talk about a surprise! The new Bishop of Syracuse was chosen from the Diocese of Ogdensburg, Bishop Douglas Lucia. Ogdensburg stays in my life.

Recently, I had an opportunity to spend some time in the North Country. Monsignor John Murphy asked me to cover the weekend Masses at his parish, St. Bartholomew’s Parish in Old Forge. I also had the opportunity to drive through some of the parishes of my diocese in that area. I also had the opportunity to visit my classmate and friend, Father Phil Allen.

I always found such a close and friendly spirit in the Diocese of Ogdensburg – true communities in each of the parishes where I was assigned or visited. So, on another anniversary, I thank God for connecting me to the Diocese of Ogdensburg, the North Country Catholic.

I must finish these memories with gratitude to God for connecting me to the North Country Catholic. I have worked with many terrific and talented editors over the years. The Diocese of Ogdensburg has been blessed to have the North Country Catholic. And I have been blessed to be part of its staff.

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