Dear Friends in Christ,
No words can fully express the many different emotions that I feel this weekend as I come to the end of my ministry here at our wonderful parish. I will forever be grateful to God for bringing me here in 2011. Likewise, I will forever be indebted to the people of this parish who have been family to me since my arrival. I am certainly sad to be leaving all of you whom I have been honored to serve throughout these eleven and a half years; however, I am excited to begin this new chapter in serving the Church while also being able to be home more often to fulfill my primary vocation of fatherhood.
As I look back on my time here, the blessings have been innumerable. Being hired at Saint Wendelin five months out of college was a dream come true. I was able to combine my love of liturgical music (which began back in second grade) with my passion for teaching. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.” Trying to fathom all that God has done these past eleven and a half years is impossible, but I can certainly think of many moments. It has been a delight to serve here in so many different ways in the school and parish: teaching choir and band, directing musicals and plays, announcing for football and basketball games, helping with retreats, serving and announcing at festivals and fundraisers, giving presentations at Soup & Bread, training liturgical ministers, beginning the Karcher Series, helping to keep us connected during the pandemic, and, most importantly, leading everybody in divine worship. It has been the honor of my life to walk this journey of discipleship together where we have seen extremely joy-filled times and very sorrowful times. Some joyful things that come to mind are celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the church’s dedication, my master’s recital, the world-premiere of “Ave Verum Corpus” by the Toledo Symphony and our amazing parish and school choirs, teaching so many wonderful students over the years, athletes going to state, baccalaureate Masses, confirmations, baptisms, the restoration of the tabernacle to the sanctuary, Forty Hours, Christmases, and Holy Weeks. On the sorrowful side, I think of the closing of the schools, the final Mass for SWCS, the pause of public liturgy during the pandemic, and the hundreds of funerals we have had.
Going back to the first part of Ecclesiastes 3:11, it is my sincerest prayer that God has made my time here at Saint Wendelin “appropriate.” Whether in worship, in meetings or workshops, through bulletin articles, social media posts, and/or emails, in conversation, or wherever I interacted with you, I pray that I helped bring you closer to God in some way. If so, thanks be to God who was working through a broken vessel. For all the times where in any way I was an obstacle to helping you worship or grow closer to God, I humbly ask your forgiveness.
This parish has long been known for training “baby priests” as many newly ordained priests have been assigned here. These priests still credit and thank Saint Wendelin with teaching them how to be priests. This parish can add training of pastoral musicians to its legacy. I arrived here as a 23 year-old who knew quite a bit about music education, but very little about liturgy. I leave as a pastoral musician and liturgist molded by all of you and our journey together. I will forever be thankful to you for teaching me how to be a pastoral musician. To all the clergy and staff I have worked with over the years, thank you for being wonderful co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord. To all our liturgical ministers, thank you for serving and making our liturgies reverent and beautiful. To all my musicians, thank you for sharing your talents with me and the parish, for all the fun we have had over the years, and for all your love. To each member of this parish, thank you for your love, friendship, and support over the years. I am a better Catholic, pastoral musician, husband, father, and friend for having known and served you. Know of my prayers and love for you now and always. May God bless you abundantly!
Your Brother in Christ our Song, Anthony
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