Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Thank you for the warm, farewell reception last weekend. Your generosity, friendship and kind devotionon to our parish and me will forever remain emblazoned within my heart.
During my time here, we were collectively able to achieve many goals and tally several arduous accomplishments. Our physical plant is in good shape. Our school has grown into a top-tier, vibrant, educational resource for our students, we have significantly broadened our Catholic services within the parish and have extended our Chrisan outreach that positively impacts many people. Overall, our parish, and the work we do, have gained formidable influence throughout the Eastern Idaho area.
In these final weeks of my tenure, I have wondered about the experiences of those pastors who preceded me. I have wondered about the people they served. I have wondered what their passion for Jesus Christ was like?
In these ten years, I’ve watched children grow up. I’ve baptized, celebrated marriages, and officiated too many funerals. I’ve visited hospitals and shut-ins. Together, we realized some dreams, enjoyed countless blessings, observed numerous changes, and persevered through various challenges.
While I am leaving you, there is one who remains constant: Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus has been here from the beginning and will be with you for the rest of time. If through the power of the Holy Spirit you allow Jesus to guide you individually and our dynamic, growing parish collectively, our parish mission will continue to be fulfilled.
Changes may occur. Our parish may not always look like it does today. There may be difficult decisions which need to be made. But a passion for Our Lord and Savior will see you through all your future trials. This passion guided the earlier congregations of Holy Rosary and Christ the King parishes and it enabled them to navigate their own trials. They managed and flourished because of their unwavering faith and the steadfast belief that nothing is impossible with the Lord.
The bible is full of stories about people who faced harder trials than we. There were times when the people of Israel were exiled from their land; every time they returned. When Elijah was on the run from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel he prayed, “I’ve been very passionate for the Lord God of heavenly forces because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars, and they have murdered your prophets with the sword. I’m the only one left, and now they want to take my life too.”
The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer and encouraged him with these words: “I have preserved those who remain in Israel, totaling seven thousand–all those whose knees haven’t bowed down to Baal and whose mouths haven’t kissed him.” When Elijah calculated the odds, it looked like the situation was insurmountable. However, God’s math was different from Elijah’s. God made a way where there seemed to be no possible way. God will always do this for people who have faith.
I pray for a bright future for this wonderful parish. I pray that under new pastoral leadership you will never cease in your effort to spread the Good News of Our Lord. I pray you will center your lives around mercy and love toward one another. Mercy and love are all that is needed!
Finally, I share with you the Mizpah blessing from Genesis 31:49, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.” I shall go away smiling and praying that you will love one another! May God bless you always.
See you in church for three more weeks.
In Loving, Profound Gratitude, Fr. Raul
Holy Rosary Catholic School
161 9th St
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
Phone: (208) 522-7781
Fax: (208) 522-7782
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