Today was our parish priest's last mass. He's retiring after being our pastor for the last 27 years.
I remember when Father Lynch first came to our church...I was still in high school. During mass today I couldn't help but think that he has been such a large part of my life. Even though I belonged to other parishes over the years I still attended mass there every once in a while because my mom has been a member there since I was a child and my sister is still a member as well. A few years ago we rejoined this church and have been attending mass there...well...somewhat regularly...ever since.
At the end of EVERY mass for as long as I can remember Father Lynch told the congregation...
"Always remember that God loves you unconditionally, just the way you are. He really does."
Isn't that wonderful! Our congregation was truly blessed to have our spiritual leader end every mass with such a loving sentiment.
Father Lynch will be remembered for many, many other things that he did for the betterment of our parish. But I feel that sharing this one simple statement after every mass will leave more of an imprint of the hearts and souls of our parishioners than anything else.
Though we're happy to know that he will finally be getting a chance to take it easy and live his own life now, Father Lynch will be sadly missed!