Father's Bulletin Letter 6.6.21

Jun 03, 2021


Four years ago, Fr. Simone had his first Sunday Mass at St. Sebastian on Corpus Christi weekend. This Corpus Christi weekend he has his final Sunday Mass as a parochial vicar assigned here. And what a whirlwind four years it has been! That he was ordained “between” bishops might have been a sign of the odd things that would occur during his first four years of priesthood! The parish is certainly not the same place four years later that it was when he first walked through the doors as a newly minted priest.

Physically the campus is different since he was here for the great restoration of our church. We went through many weeks of adjusting and figuring out how to be a parish and celebrate Mass sometimes around scaffolding, sometimes without pews, sometimes without a church! During his time, he saw the opening of the Julie Billiart Akron School and grew in his ministry serving that part of our community. And then there was, of course, COVID and the shutting down of churches, the adjusting to online ministry, figuring out how to minister to people who were out of our typical reach, having Mass out of doors, doing without life’s props that were relied upon and hyper focusing on keeping the parish united and close to God.

During this time, he has grown in his ministry particularly, in my opinion, in his preaching. He has become more confident, imaginative and skilled. When he was first sent here, I was told that Fr. Anthony shined best in one on one situations. One professor said, “You’ll find him talking about model trains to some guy who wouldn’t even say hello to you and all of sudden that same guy will become one of your more involved parishioners.” It was true! I thought Fr. Simone a great partner since I tend toward events and large groups and he toward the individuals.

He is a good man, one who loves his neighbor, and a priest who strives to be holy. He saw us through some difficult times. Just now when things seem to be returning to normal, he is being whisked away to serve at St. Charles in Parma. On one hand, I want to say, “Not fair! We’re just getting ready to start really rolling again!” But on the other, it is time to share the wealth that is Fr. Anthony. There are others who will benefit from his ministry. And we were fortunate to have been his first assignment for I believe he won’t be at St. Charles nearly as long as he was with us for in a few short years, I believe we will be invited to his installation as pastor somewhere in our diocese.

Thank you, Fr. Anthony, for all that you have done and for your friendship. Many blessings on you for your future ministry.


SUNDAY OBLIGATION:  Beginning this weekend, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday has been reinstated by the bishops of Ohio. The parish is called back to the Supper of the Lamb, to be united again in thanksgiving and praise. Only those who have medical conditions, emergency situations or find themselves in an area where getting to a Mass is impossible can fulfill their Sunday obligation by watching online. Please pray for your parish as we get to gather once again!

COVID:  Please be aware that most of the COVID protocols are now lifted. If you want to continue wearing a mask, you are welcome to do so, but their use, distancing and most of our other protocols are no longer required.

CORPUS CHRISTI:  There is a Corpus Christi procession after the 9:00am Mass this weekend. Even if you attend another Mass, you are invited to return for the procession. There will also be a short reception for Fr. Simone after all the Masses this weekend.

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck