“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
This little verse is a beautiful way to summarize the emotions of my heart. A special “thank you” to Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his confidence in appointing me the seventh Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. I am grateful also to Msgr. Walter Erbì, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC, for arranging his schedule to be with us on the day of my Installation. Thanks also to our Metropolitan Abp. Robert Carlson for his leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and for the privilege of working alongside him for the past five years. Abp. Carlson consecrated me to the Episcopacy and has been my mentor. His example has taught me what it means to be a gentle, loving shepherd to the people of God and words cannot express my deepest gratitude. Add to that my thanks for the talented and faith-filled members of the Curia who have been a constant source of inspiration.
A special thank you to the good people of St. Louis who nurtured and supported my vocation and with whom I have been honored to work these past 29 years of ministry. Many of you worked alongside me in my various assignments and formed me into the priest and bishop I am today. To my brother priests and religious—your love for the Church and zeal to serve God’s people has inspired me to strive for holiness. I am grateful!
To my brothers and sisters, along with my extended family—a loving and heartfelt thank you. Your support through the years has kept me grounded. In a special way, I would like to acknowledge my parents, John and Helen, who gave me the gift of faith: God be good to them. Along with my brother, John, I offer this Mass for their eternal repose.
Finally, what can I say about the clergy and good people of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau? From my first moments in the diocese, you have welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. Your promise of prayers, love, and support has touched me deeply. Msgr. Reidy and the staff of The Catholic Center have done everything possible to make the transition flawless and I can honestly say I already feel at home!
So, after pondering that verse, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice,” I believe there is something more to add. Psalm 116:12-13 proclaims “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me? The cup of salvation I will raise up and I will call upon the name of the Lord!” In light of all your kindness, love, and support, in return I pledge to each and every one of you a remembrance in my daily celebration of the Holy Mass: raising the cup of salvation, calling upon the name of the Lord, and asking God’s blessings upon all of you in return. ©TM