Father Gene Nowak St. Gilbert Weekly Pastor Message (847) 223-4731

Dear Parishioners, 

On this Feast of the Holy Family, we are instructed to revere our family members.  As St. Paul says, we are to have “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another…and over all these put on love.”

This being my final weekend with you as your Pastor, I pray that through my servant ministry I was able to live these Christian qualities in your presence.  When I came over eight years ago, I said in my opening remarks: “I have come to wash your feet.”  Foot washing (or any servant ministry) is never easy or comfortable either for the washer or the recipient.   Through our reaching out to one another we humbly bend to the other, embrace, pour warm water, wipe dry and become refreshed.  It may not be easy but always comforting.

At my retirement celebration on December 14th, I said my entire priesthood has been based not on bringing God to others because God is already present with us.  I always see my ministry as helping others discover that God wants to comfort us and make us more aware of God’s cleansing and healing presence.  We celebrate this in our “breaking open the Word” and in our “sharing the Body and Blood of Christ”.   This is why Eucharist is important to me.  It is not something we do; it is Someone we become!

It is our becoming the Body and Blood of Christ that we become the gentleness and patience, forgiveness and love which Paul speaks about.  This is our daily Eucharist when we nourish each other and when we become servant ministers.

Thank you for your embrace, care and love as I came to you eight years ago.  It meant a great deal to me during my surgeries and recovery and throughout my ministry with you.  I appreciate all you have so graciously shared with me.  Together we have been fed.  Together we have revealed Christ’s presence.  Together we have become servant ministers. I will keep you in prayers.  Kindly pray for me.

I am appreciative of the Pastoral Staff members, past and present, whom I have had the privilege of working with these years.  They are dedicated, gifted and holy.  Together we have played. Together we have prayed.  Together we have grown.  I am indebted to them for their co-shepherding with me.

The Jewish word “Shalom means peace, completeness, prosperity. This is my farewell blessing to you!

                                                              Shalom,

Fr. Gene