Welcome Fr. Benedict!
July 1, 2018
Being appointed pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish comes as a gift and I am very grateful to God our Father and Archbishop Schnurr for appointing me as your parish priest. Also, many thanks to Fr. Reutter for his outstanding pastoral ministry as pastor. May our prayers and best wishes go with him in his new assignment as pastor of St. Peter, New Richmond and St. Mary’s, Bethel.
I’d like to share a magnificent and true story told about a priest and saint, St. Philip Neri (1515-1595). St. Philip was an outstanding priest, preacher, and evangelist who ministered to the people of Rome. With a truly priestly heart he never tired of serving the poor, visiting hospitals, anointing the sick, searching for the lost, celebrating the Mass, and sacraments. While preparing for the celebration of Pentecost in AD 1544, he was praying for an outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit so he could more effectively minister as a priest. While he was praying, he had a vision of a globe of fire coming toward him and entering through his mouth and resting in his heart.
The impact of the presence of the fire, God’s Divine Love, was so great that he fell to the ground and cried out: “Enough, enough Lord, I can bear no more.” Years later, at the time of his death, doctors discovered a heart so enlarged that the ribs around it had broken. His broken ribs had widened and transformed, thus creating additional space for his heart’s increased size.
As I begin my priestly ministry at Our Lady of Victory, I pray, God will increase my heart two-fold so I can love Him and you, His people, with a greater love. A heart that grows large enough that it breaks ribs to make room for God’s love. As your parish priest, please pray for me as each of you will be in my prayers. Let’s face it, we can always do with more love and prayers.
It is a great honor to be your priest. I look forward to getting to know each of you. Thank you for your kindness and for your welcoming hearts.