Dear Brothers and Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,

I have known for more than a year what I wanted to say to the community in this message when it came time to say adieu.

It is this. I thank each and every member of the parish and school community, each and every present and past colleague in ministry, each staff member and every parishioner for the privilege of knowing you and serving at Mount Carmel for the past four years. My years here since July 2015 were fulfilling, satisfying, and challenging. Whether you know it or not, the ministry here as your pastor consumed me day and night. It has been a grace and a blessing and I thank God for our time together.

I must also mention a few persons by name. First, I thank Fr. Leonard for the phenomenal care he gave to all the physical plant upgrades he led at our parish. I have never had it so good as a pastor. In thanking him for his vision and leadership, I also include everyone who did all the work on these projects and all those who made the financial sacrifices to enable such upgrades to happen. May Fr. Leonard continue to rest in peace in the loving arms of God. 

As some of you know, Kelly Koval, our principal for the past three years, has taken a new position at another Catholic high school. She is the epitome of the selfless Catholic school educator upon whose shoulders our current ministry of Catholic education is carried. Obviously, the bevy of Catholic religious sisters is only a nostalgic memory. The Kelly Kovals of our Church, along with all those who give themselves wholeheartedly to the ministry of education, are the 21st century formators and teachers who pass our faith forward.

I take great pride in being the twenty-sixth pastor in the long brown line of Carmelites who served here. I am most pleased that I am not the last. I trust you will welcome Fr. Mark and give him a chance to learn how we do things around here. He is an experienced pastor and will surely have his own ideas to contribute. A very wise suggestion is to say, “This is how we’ve been doing something in recent years, perhaps you have other preferences.”

My mother died of colon cancer in 1983. After a short time of treatment, she stopped it. When we asked her what she was going to do from then on, she said this: “I am going to hold on to the hem of the garment of our Blessed Mother the rest of the way.”

I think that is a pretty wise thought to leave with in a parish dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Sincerely yours in Christ and Our Lady of Mount Carmel,

fr. Dan