Priesthood at 35

05-21-2023Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Half-time goes by, suddenly your wise, another blink of the eye, 67 is gone, the sun is getting high, we’re moving on.” 100 Years sung by Five for Fighting Lord Jesus, Eternal High Priest, Thirty-five years have passed since that day when my name was called at the Cathedral and I responded: Here I am. Well Lord, here I am, still, despite myself---

Over the years Lord, You have shaped me, molded me to conform me to You, the Eternal Merciful Priest. Yet I admit I have not always made it easy for You to do that. In fact, at times You’ve had to break me because of my inflexibility and my unwillingness to yield to You. Thank You for making me teachable.

In those early years I was filled with so much zeal and enthusiasm but lurking beneath was lots of my own arrogance and self-righteousness. Forgive me for all the good I thought I was doing that just ended up making a mess of things.

Actually, nothing turned out the way I thought it would because I too often tried to make it what I thought it should be. It took me way too long to figure out that what mattered was what You wanted, what You willed. Then amazingly it all turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined.

Lord, help me to have unwavering confidence in Your will. Prevent me from becoming a jumble of self-will. Your will not mine be done. Always.

I know You have given me tremendous capacity to do good and yet I am painfully aware of the frightening capacity I have to do harm. Protect me Lord always that I may do only the good You wish.

Thank You for these past thirty-five years. Thank You for all the companions You have sent that have helped me carry Your cross and lift Your chalice. Thank You for all the gentle Bishops that have guided me, thank You for the many pastors and brother priests and consecrated women that have challenged me and encouraged me, thank You for your people who reflect Your love to me better than I reflect it to them. Thank You for my family that has sacrificed for me Thank You for allowing me to share in Your priestly ministry even when I have done so poorly.

And so, Here I am. Every bit as willing, albeit a bit more sober, as I was then to offer my life in service to You, the Eternal High Priest. I am here.

Stay with me Lord. Amen.


Fr. John B.