Shortly after Ash Wednesday and immediately after the funeral rites for Andy Domagola, I began to receive letters and emails from parishioners and students wishing me well and praying for my good. I was struck by the goodness of such kind-hearted people. I assumed they were addressing the loss that I had been feeling in association with Andy's death -- a loss that so many of you have experienced as well. At first, I began to call some of these letter writers to thank them for their kindness.
However, as the weeks passed, the letters continued -- and continued -- and continued! In all honesty, I began to feel a bit concerned; I wondered if people were thinking that I was beginning to crack under pressure. Given the overwhelming number of cards and letters -- and even baked goods which I usually never second guess[!], I wondered if I was giving the impression that I was beginning to lose it!
I began a bit of an investigation, and I was grateful to discover that people were not necessarily thinking that I was at wit's end, but that a kind person of the parish thought it would be a wonderful act of Lenten charity if people would write their pastor to wish him well amidst these 40 days!
So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank so many of you for your cards, emails, voice mails and bakery, expressing such gratitude. Please know of my mutual gratitude. And I believe all of this was under the direction of my dear friend, Carolyn Schaeffer -- and perhaps some of her cohorts as well. Please know how moved I have been over these past 40 days. Because I keep a file entitled, "Rainy Day," you know that I will be keeping these very kind notes. As such, I thank you for your random acts of kindness. It seems as though my files were cleaned out just in time to make room for a new generation of memories: "Thanks for the Memories!"
Father James Baraniak, O. Praem.