Dear People of Saint Anne,
This weekend, we welcome Father Paul Stein, the Pastor of our Sharing Parish, Saint Frances of Rome, in Cicero, Illinois. Father Paul makes his annual visit to better inform us as to how our parish sharing partnership has been a source of grace and blessing for both of our parish communities. As you may have read last weekend in his letter in the Clarion, Saint Frances of Rome is beginning a capital campaign to pay their debt to the Archdiocese upon the completion of their church renovation. Please offer Father Paul a warm welcome this weekend.
On Sunday, December 9th, our Parish Community will welcome Bishop Mark Bartosic, the former Pastor of Saint Frances of Rome. As you know, Mark was recently ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He will preside at the 11:00 a.m. Mass, while offering us the opportunity to pray for him as he assumes this new leadership responsibility in the Archdiocese.
Since this last Thursday and continuing until this Sunday afternoon, twenty-two of our parish high school juniors and seniors have been involved in this year’s Fall Kairos Retreat. Along with a team of 13 peer ministers and adults, they are spending these days together pondering over their lives, reflecting on the Gospel message of Jesus and taking the time to share their stories of life and faith with each other. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Over the last month, as I have presided at weddings, funerals and Sunday Mass, and, as parishioners, you have been very warm, welcoming and encouraging as I have made my way back to my pastoral responsibilities here at Saint Anne.
As some of you may know, the last nine months have been some rather challenging ones for me and my health. Over the last few weeks, I was encouraged by some staff members and parish leadership representatives to offer you a health update.
So, here goes:
Since the beginning of March, I have undergone three surgeries. The first one took place during March. I had double bypass surgery. It was a successful surgery that was followed by some rest and cardiac rehab. Then, on the Saturday morning before Memorial Day, I had a freak fall down the wooden stairs of the Blue House. A second surgery took place, on Memorial Day, to repair my fractured humerus. Again, thank the Lord, the surgery was successful and has been followed by physical therapy twice a week that will continue until thefirst of the year.
Finally, on Wednesday, October 3rd, I had a surgery that had been planned for the end of June, but was rescheduled due to my humerus surgery in May. I had endovascular repair surgery to treat an abdominal aortic aneurism. This was a non-invasive surgical procedure that implanted a graft to treat the aneurism and reinforce my aorta. Again, this was a successful surgery and has required just about a month of recovery.
So, it has been a rather long nine months. But the good news is that I am on the other side of these health issues. I am in good health. I continue to grow in greater strength and endurance, and I am praying that I will be at 100% before Christmas.
Again, I thank you for your many prayers, cards, notes and expressed concern for me over the last months. As I have done before, I express my thanks to Father Chris and Father Joji for assuming many of the liturgical and pastoral responsibilities of the parish. I am especially grateful to my assistant, August Link, and our Business Manager, Margaret Buckstaff, whose attentiveness and care for me are deeply appreciated. I could not have gotten through these last months without their care and support.
In the Lord of all Hopefulness,
Father Bernie Pietrzak