Thanking God for you...
I would imagine by now that most of you know that I am no longer at St. Mary's in Bloomington. Last Christmas day, Fr. Gregg, who took care of our large Hispanic community, went to his eternal reward after suffering a number of years with many medical issues. It was decided by the Province that when he could no longer function, we would turn over the care of the parish to the diocese because we have no one who is fluent in Spanish. I have been saying Mass in Spanish for some 50 years but I don't speak the language. So on June 8th, after serving the parish for 135 years, the Friars, with heavy hearts, left St. Mary's. The previous Sunday afternoon, the parish gathered in church and had a wonderful celebration and tribute to all of us. It was a sad but at the same time a joyful celebration.
The new pastor, Fr. Greg Nelson, is a wonderful man and is carrying on the traditions the friars established. I think the parish is responding well to him.
I am now residing at St. Clement Friary in Cincinnati, where I first started out in 1960 teaching at Roger Bacon High School which is just down the block. The community of 16 friars have been very welcoming and I have settled in and am getting used to living in a larger community. For the past 35 years I have lived in a small community of 3 or 4. I have set up a shop in the basement to continue pursuing my hobby of building and flying RC planes. I am still a member of the Cincinnati club but haven't flown much because the field is so far away, about 28 miles. My main endeavor now is to be available as a substitute for the parishes around Cincy. I am getting a number of calls for help for Sunday and weekday Masses and confessions. I said Mass this morning at Good Sam Hospital and anointed several who are heading to their heavenly home. Felt good to be useful again.
I do have several small jobs. The Province asked me to serve on the Board of Trustees for Roger Bacon and I am the liaison for the Franciscan Alumni, the men who went to the Sem but left and chose a different profession. They are an amazing group who get together each year and very much Franciscans at heart.
But the main reason I am writing to all of you is to thank you for all the support you gave me at St. Mary's. So many of you took tickets on my daily raffle which has kept the school thriving. I can't thank you enough for all your help. Bless you. Bless you.
May you have a MERRY CHRISTMAS after a prayerful season of Advent.
Fr. Ric Schneider, OFM
COME SEE ME SOMETIME.