By Fr. Christopher Kubat
I wrote my first “Seedlings” column June 17, 2005, and now I write my last.
Over the years that flew by like a warm summer afternoon, I wrote about the many wonderful, charitable things our generous donors have allowed us to do, namely, helping and loving Jesus Christ present in the poor and needy (Mt 25:31-46). As I type these words, I recall the countless men and women, young and old, we have helped from a social and clinical standpoint. For this, I am most grateful. I am grateful to God; to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her most chaste spouse, St. Joseph; St. Gianna and all of our patron angels and saints who have prayed for us; to our donors; staff; volunteers; and clients who have come through our doors. I have so many memories I could share but am unable due to the short nature of this column.
I am happy to announce that a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of baptizing three, confirming one, and giving two their first Holy Communions at St. Gianna Women’s Homes. This would have not happened if not for the existence of St. Gianna’s. Thank you, Marian Sisters!
I remember being called to help an unbaptized woman in her upper 90s who had weeks to live. As it often happens, one thing led to another: after some abbreviated instructions in the faith, she received baptism, Confirmation and her first Holy Communion. Soon afterward she died, but not before saying, “The happiest day of my life was the day I was baptized. I love you.”
Over the last several months, I have been saying goodbye to many people—staff, volunteers, supporters, and clients. There is a man who spends a considerable amount of time under the bridges near our main office. We have helped him a number of ways over the years. He has bounced in and out of the work force and homelessness. He was the one who, after a nice jog, invited me to sit by him for a chat. It was during our talk he asked me, “When you look at me, what do you see?” I replied, “Jesus.” He was understandably happy to hear that. A few weeks ago, I was able to say goodbye to him as I encountered him under the bridge near the office.
I want to thank also my successor, Father Justin Fulton, for the wonderful year we have had together as he has served as assistant director. I am impressed with what I have seen and know he will do a wonderful job at the helm of CSS.
I would like to thank the many benefactors who have helped us spiritually with their prayers, materially with their gifts of items and cars, and financially over the last 16 years.
While saying my goodbyes, I have traveled to Hastings and have started saying hello to the many wonderful parishioners of St. Cecilia where I will be the new pastor. I am grateful to Father Joseph Walsh for all he has done in handing over the baton. St. Cecilia is a special parish for me, as it was my first assignment after my ordination in 1999. It was then I arrived with Father Larry Gyhra, a.k.a. “King of Kindness.” What a privilege following these two priests and the many holy pastors before them. As I say goodbye and thank you, please be assured of my continued prayers for you all.