Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Presence of Greatness

I'm sorry if you've been looking for something from me and there has been nothing new!  Summer and the ever-presence of my kiddos seems to have my brain functioning in a new and much slower way, with considerably less critical thinking going on (unless that includes menu planning and how I'm going to get everyone to be quiet at the same time)! 

However, I want to share with you a brief look into a meal and a very fast year with a very holy man.  A priest.  One of our parish priests is leaving our parish, perhaps prematurely.  Vague statements are made about letters to the bishop, dissatisfaction with his Nigerian accent, and his direct way of speaking.  This priest is one who worked his way into our hearts very quickly, with his booming voice and laughter, and his million-dollar smile.  Above all though, we came to love and respect his love for God and consequently, his availability to us. 

As a cradle Catholic, I've known many priests, but never one who has made himself more available than Fr. Uche.  During Christmastime, my husband secretly bought a statue of Mary for my back patio and as a double-gift, stopped by the Church to have it blessed.  Who did he find enjoying a pizza party, but Fr. Uche?  Upon my husband's request, he dropped everything, and gave the blessing with great joy.

Later in the year, I was having a big religious discussion with a friend and didn't want to make a misstep.  Shortly after, I ran into him during religion class drop off, so I ran my dilemma by him.  He was at my house between the Masses later that day. 

Word came that his time at our parish was coming to a close, so we had him over for dinner this past week.  He was a very gracious guest and we enjoyed his presence immensely.  The presence of greatness and holiness.  His presence has a way of helping you see your own life more clearly.  His passion cuts through confusion while leaving room for respect.  It is life-giving.  As my three-year-old son thanked God for him during our mealtime prayer, I thanked God for him, too.

At his farewell dinner at the Church yesterday, the room was packed.  When he spoke, he acknowledged that we were not there for food (we had that at home) nor even for him, but for God.  However, what he did not acknowledge, is that his love, passion, and presence are God's gift to us, through him, and his docility to the Holy Spirit.

He embodies a goal I will be reaching toward until my death.  The goal of striving to please God more than man. 

You must not let your peace of mind depend on what people say about you.  The construction they put on your actions may be correct or false; that doesn't make a different man of you.  Where will you find true peace, real glory?  It is in me (God), as you well know.  The man who is neither bent upon pleasing his fellows nor afraid of offending them will enjoy great peace.  It is from affections allowed to run wild and from baseless fears that all disquiet of heart arises..." - Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ

Dear God, Thank you for Fr. Uche!  Thank you for Fr. Edwin and all priests who serve You and bring You to us.  Please bless them superabundantly for their fidelity, self-sacrifice, and their love.  Please help them to keep strong in the face of adversity and to adhere to You and Your truth even more.  We rely on them to deliver Your Word, to serve as a visual reminder of  Your Presence, and a million other things.  Thank you for the gift of the priesthood and for all of the men whom have responded to Your call.  Please help me to be more like them in their singleness of purpose, commitment to You, and love for all people.  Amen.


  1. Bruce and I were very upset to learn that Fr. Uche was leaving. You are right, he is such a Holy priest.

  2. Wow beautiful comments Heidi. I could not agree more. We have to restore respect and appreciation for our priests. Our voices of thankfulness and praise must reach higher and be heard more often than the shallow voices of dissent. God knew exactly what he was doing when he assigned Fr. Edwin and Fr. Uche to St.Thomas Aquinas.

    1. Amen. Thank you for representing the laity so well, Jeff. You have my full confidence.

  3. Fr. Uche has been such a blessing to us. His devotion to our Blessed Mother is an inspiration to me. My daughter chose to go to him for her first reconciliation and she feels a special connection to him. We are so sorry to see him go!