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Father Muench Says...

Birthday prayers and reflections

November 15, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Recently, I celebrated my birthday. The family decided to give me a party. It was a good time. Family and friends joined together for a pleasant afternoon. I must tell you that afterwards I stopped at church for a short visit, a visit that lasted much longer than originally intended. I prayed lot of prayers of gratitude to the Lord for all the wonderful people in my life. Then I began to think about growing older. This developed into quite a meditation.

First, my thoughts turned to God. It was a time to be grateful for God’s love throughout my life and priesthood. God the Father has been my protector, constantly showing me the way. Jesus has been and continues to be my friend, walking with me and guiding me. The Holy Spirit has filled my priesthood with wisdom, giving me the right words to write and to speak and giving me many surprises from the Lord each day.

As a priest, looking back, I have had many great assignments. I thought of these with gratitude that night. I have been blessed to work and pray with dedicated families and persons in those parishes. I thank God for placing so many wonderful people in my life and ministry. There is so many great memories.

As I continued to pray, I began thanking God for the many priest friends who showed me the way to be a good priest. As I grow older, many of these priest friends are now with the Lord at the heavenly banquet. There were so many of them with whom I traveled and skied; they certainly helped me to be a real person. They brought adventure into my life. They were my companions in life – true gifts to me.

As you can see, this got to be a busy evening. I went on to thank God for calling me to be a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. I had assumed that I would become a priest in my own home diocese. For various reasons, that was all changed, and I became a priest of the North Country. I like to refer to it as God’s country. I found happiness in ministry to the parishes of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Aging brings health concerns, so I continued to thank God for all the great people that have taken care of me – the doctors and nurses who have kept me active and busy. So, I thanked God for giving me the ability to continue to celebrate Holy Mass. And that the North Country Catholic allows me to continue writing.

So, this became a busy meditation. I decided to add one more important thing: Looking over my whole life, I know that God has watched over me bringing his love, his forgiveness, his correction to me when I have failed. Repentance has been a most important part of my life, as I have had to seek the Lord’s forgiveness for sins, mistakes, failures. God’s love has shown me the way to conversion – repeatedly. I trusted God and knew that he would show me the right and proper way to live well, guiding me to be a good priest.

So, my birthday this year became a unique opportunity for me to turn in prayer and gratitude to my Lord and Savior. This has been an important opportunity to share all of this with you. I thank God and pray often that he will remain close to me. I turn to you all that you will put me into your prayers, as I will continue to pray for you all.

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