Father's Bulletin Letter 5.19.24

May 14, 2024


This day, which always seemed so far away, is now upon us.  I was hoping not to ever have to write this letter, envisioning us working together until we both retired, but that was not to be.  That is how we know this is not heaven.

This weekend we say, “Happy Retirement,” to Mrs. Lynn Steward, Director of Music here at St. Sebastian Parish.  Lynn began working here under our previous pastor, The Rev. William Karg, to whom I am very grateful for having hired her.  Over the years, Lynn built up our choir both in numbers and ability.  The choir has toured Europe, won awards, and sang for significant events, most recently for the ordination of transitional deacons at our cathedral.

Lynn oversaw the installation of our new pipe organ.  It seemed impossible to get it done within our budget, but she plugged away at it.  One of the last hurdles was purchasing an organ from a closed church that wanted an enormous sum of money for their instrument, which was understandable, but that would have put us way over budget.  While touring in Rome with the choir, I visited St. Peter Basilica early in the morning when there were few people there.  I walked over to the St. Sebastian shrine where St. John Paul II was interred, lit a candle, and prayed, “Would you guys do something nice for the parish?”

Returning to the Michelangelo Hotel, I saw Lynn standing outside jumping up and down.  “You will never believe it!” she said, “I just got a call and they are willing to sell the organ to us at our price!”  To which I responded, “You’ll never believe it!  Guess what I was just doing!”

Over the years we’ve seen our concert series grow in the number of offerings, the quality of music and our reputation to the point that now we have people contacting us to perform here.  There were so many different things that have occurred over these years that it is difficult to remember them all.  For example, our handbell choir which led to us hosting a handbell festival for a couple of years. 

But most of all has been the steady, high-quality music that has added to our worship of God.  Not only have we been blessed with outstanding music on our weekends but there have been innumerable weddings, funerals, First Communions, Confirmations, First Masses, benedictions, prayer services as well as music added to our Missions and other events.

Thank you, Lynn, for all that you have done, for all of your care, for your many years of devotion and for your friendship.  May you have as much success and joy in your new adventure as you have had here.


FINAL CONCERT:  Please join Mrs. Lynn Steward in her final concert as Musical Director this Sunday night, May 19 at 7pm.  There will be screens in the sanctuary so that you may see all that goes on at the organ (which will make it more interesting for the kiddos.)  Lynn will be joined by a number of musicians and choir members, both present and past for a truly magnificent evening of music.  I hope to see you there.

THANK YOU FR. BLAU O.P.:  A huge thank you to Fr. Blau O.P. who helped us out with the liturgical schedule this past week!  Always a pleasure to have you here.  Also joining us last weekend at the 9am Mass was Fr. Fred Alexander O.C.D. who was in town to visit with the Third Order Carmelites who meet at St. Sebastian Parish.

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck