It’s amazing to see how the year went by so quickly…here’s a little photo summary.
First: don’t forget about the indulgences attached to the Te Deum prayed on December 31 and the Veni Creator on January 1. I wrote a blog post about this.
This year I found myself becoming more and more involved in the life of the parish. There have been countless Masses, funerals, a few weddings and baptisms, lots of anointings, I taught some classes, and to cap it all off I was given even more work. I was named Administrator of a nearby parish while remaining where I currently reside. I’ve also been blessed to make some new wonderful friendships for which I am truly grateful. The simple time spent together is really treasured. Our Lord loved building friendships, so I think I am in good company here. There have been moments where it does feel paralyzing to see the Tidal wave of work coming my way, but I just go one day at a time. I am also shamelessly delegating if I am able to do that (for example, I am having somebody else keep the roster and organize the details for the March for Life trip in January). I am very much looking forward to my annual retreat, and I am trying everyday to be more focused on the essentials of the day, cutting out things that distract me.
I cannot close out the year with some intense stories from the hospital. I went to visit one person, and after I was about to leave I heard: “hey father! visit me!” from behind the curtain. So I went to see the roommate. This person was not happy with the Church, and to keep confidence I won’t reveal anymore. I spoke with her a little bit and talked about the power of forgiveness as revealed by the story of Saint Maria Goretti. As I was leaving she said, “I’ll come back to the Church.” This was truly a surprising thing to hear. I heard her repeat that sentiment to her roommate. I hope it’s true and I will keep praying for this person, and I ask you to do the same.
Then I was walking one hallway heading to a room, and I heard a man call out, “Pastor Crowe?” I thought, “oh this could be interesting (Catholics of course address the priest as ‘father’)”. I turned around and it was a nurse who was calling after me. He asked me if I was a Catholic priest, and I said “yes I am”, and he asked me to visit one of his patients. I am truly grateful this man actually did go out of his way to ask me to go visit his patient.
I eventually made my way to the room and in the room were two very prayerful women-sisters (blood, not religious) with a very sick woman in the bed. “Father! Do you know the Carmelites? They told us to have you give the special blessing to our sister”. It turns out they wanted me to give the Apostolic blessing, which of course I gave. The funny thing is I was just speaking with a priest friend who had asked me if the Carmelites had put me to work recently. Well, now I have to update my answer. Mother John of the Cross and the Carmelites are putting me to work still! How awesome that their prayers for a priest were answered in this way. I am convinced the sisters are doing spiritual warfare using tanks and drones–serious methods-that nobody can avoid. They are able to put the priest to work without even picking up the telephone or sending a letter. Young women, if you want to be a powerful woman, consider being a Carmelite! I also was able to give the woman a tiny piece of the Eucharist as her sisters held the oxygen mask-they don’t train for things like this in seminary. I read them the promises of the Rosary, and they were very edified by this as their dying sister was very devoted to the Rosary and was constantly promoting it. Please pray for this dying woman as well. Then as I was heading onto the elevator a text from a priest–one of the parishioners from a former parish was in the ER and needed a priest ASAP. Right then the hospital paged: now I had the room number. Off I dashed to the room to anoint the woman. How providential-this saved me from going to the computer to look her up or having to go through the operator. As I was leaving the hospital I ran into the family: mom had already passed. This was a very unexpected thing, so pray for her and her family as well. I really sensed God working in a very powerful way today, and what a grace to close out the year in such a manner.
I am asking the Lord to fill you with many graces, and to help you to grow in holiness this new year. Please continue to pray for me. Let us entrust our resolutions to Mary, the Mother of God, who wants her children to succeed: to be saints and to spend eternity in heaven rejoicing in the presence of God.