Dear People of Saint Anne,
Praise be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Healer of our every ill.
It has been just over three and a half months since I have been active, available and present to you as your pastor. I have missed you all and felt that I should give you a clearer picture of the story of my journey during my absence from parish life.
On Monday, March 19th, I had double bypass surgery at Loyola University Hospital to remove two aneurisms that had developed from a previous bypass surgery that took place over seventeen years ago. The surgery was successful and after five weeks of rest and recovery, I began cardiac rehab at Good Shepherd Hospital. Everything was going well and I found myself moving forward in a wonderful way, growing stronger and ready to assume my pastoral responsibilities.
Then on Saturday morning May 26th, in a freak accident, I slipped and fell down the wooden stairs in the Blue House. I made my way to Loyola University Hospital, and came to find that I had fractured my left humerus bone (shoulder). I had surgery to repair my shoulder on Memorial Day and returned home on Tuesday, May 29th. These last ten days have been difficult and rather painful. Doctors have advised that recovery will be a four to six-week period of time that will eventually include physical rehab therapy.
As you can imagine, this has been a rather challenging and discouraging three plus months for me. I have missed some of the most significant feasts and events that make up our parish and liturgical year. For this absence, I am very sorry.
That being said, I would like to express my deep thanks and gratitude to so many of you who have sent me texts, emails, cards, meals and the promise of your prayers. All of these gestures of support and encouragement have made a great difference in my life during these troubling times.
I would also like to share my gratitude and appreciation to Fathers Chris and Joji. Their friendship and support have been a great source of comfort and strength for me. Their wonderful ministry and generosity of spirit, along with that of our parish staff and parish leadership have enabled Saint Anne to continue to be a vibrant and life giving parish for all.
I am especially grateful to August Link and Margaret Buckstaff. Besides being my administrative assistant and our business manager, their friendship, care and attentiveness have enabled me to move forward in my healing and health. I would never have been able to survive these two events without their love, presence and care in my life.
Moving forward, I hope to become more involved and engaged in the parish week to week until I assume the full responsibilities that come with being your pastor. I will be presiding at Sunday Masses and weekday Masses, along with resuming the meetings and appointments that make up my ministry in the coming weeks.
Father Bernie Pietrzak