As I try to share a few reflections about the most awesome week in the life of this kid from Atlanta, Texas; I realize that there is no way I can capture everything. Acknowledging that my reflections will be inadequate I will go ahead and make a stab at it.
It seems especially significant that Bishop Gorman School was highlighted in the Bull (mandate) from the Holy Father Pope Benedict naming me as the 4th Bishop of Tyler. That is one element of awesomeness that Bishop Gorman School was actually mentioned in the Bull. It reflects all the wonderful people in my school family who have been a part of this tremendous week and truly a part of my entire journey. Although St. Gregory Cathedral School was not mentioned directly I hope that those who are part of that wonderful “branch” of my family realize that they really were in the message also. St. Gregory and Bishop Gorman are sister schools and they BOTH did a tremendous job for me personally and for the diocese of adding a WHOLE LOT OF AWESOMENESS to this past week. I could go on for a very long time mentioning the behind the scenes and “in the spotlight” contributions that Bishop Gorman administration, staff, faculty and students made to the event of my ordination. I can say DITTO for all that the administration, staff, faculty and students of St. Gregory offered as well. I suppose what this expresses for me is that as children and families have been so much a part of my journey it is especially appropriate that the children and families of our schools have been right at the middle of my ordination.
I know that all of our Catholic schools contributed in beautiful ways to my ordination and in addition to Bishop Gorman and St. Gregory I want to especially thank St. Mary’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s. Even though I haven’t had as much interaction with these schools they stepped up beautifully to participate, send wishes of congratulations and add materially to the celebration in wonderful ways. I look forward to embracing all of these kids into my growing family also.
I commented on a couple of the posts of a fellow blogger in regard to my election and ordination as the 4th Bishop of Tyler and stated that his words were “over the top”. Somehow that may be a good description of the wonders that God has done among us after all. The Lord has been truly “over the top” in the grace that He has offered me. The event of my ordination was a blessing to me in a deeply personal way; the same can be said for my family and my wonderful extended family that encompasses the Cathedral and the whole diocese. It was a blessing for the visiting bishops who had nothing but praise for ALL the elements of the two days that many of them spent with us.
I wish that I could take the time to publically and personally thank each and every person involved but I know if I made the attempt I would leave some dear people off the list and I’m afraid I’d be accused of neglecting my pastoral duties. We do have some celebrations in the works to say thank you to key groups in a small way. My expressions of gratitude will forever be inadequate expressions of thanks for the wonderful people who have done so much but maybe realizing that makes it all the more important that I at least try.
I’m reading a book on spiritual leadership these days and I loved a quote from a Chinese monk from centuries before Christ that said, a true leader is one who can accomplish a great work and leave the people saying “we did this”. In reality my ordination isn’t a good example because I really had very little to do with it but I rejoice that the feeling I do get is that all of you who have worked so hard do come away from this week with exactly that feeling, “WE DID SOMETHING GREAT BY THE GRACE OF GOD”. I feel my prayers is already being answered in wondrous ways that your hard work will reap tremendous benefits now and for a long time to come.
We all love Bishop Carmody, (the 2nd Bishop of Tyler) and he has often told us after various efforts in the diocese, “You done good”. It was such a beautiful moment when Bishop Corrada greeted us as his fellow East Texans, the response of the congregation symbolized the significance of his warm statement for all of us. It seems to be most fitting that I close and thank you in true East Texas style. GOD BLESS YOU DIOCESAN FAMILY, YOU DONE GOOD!!!!!!