WOW: what an impressive introduction to the Green Bay Presbyterate and Parish Directors! Upon such late notice of being summoned to the Diocesan Complex today, every seat was taken in the Bosco Hall conference room as Green Bay's 12th Bishop [-Designate] introduced himself.
The Bishop was filled with smiles, and he delivered his address in such a kind and pastoral manner; I thought immediately that he would be a tremendous fit in this local Church. Towards the end of his talk, he referred to all that he will need to leave behind, and he stated, "My heart is a bit sad today when I think of the great people of Wyoming." He spoke about the folks in such a way that you knew that he had bonded well with the people of his state-wide diocese; and no doubt, they would speak similarly about him. I hoped that he would be able to say the same thing about us one day, when his ministry here would come to an end.
At the end of his half hour address, he entertained all sorts of questions and eventually he would make his way to the door where he would greet each person. When I welcomed him to Green Bay, I mentioned that I was a Norbertine -- his face seemed to light up as though he knew an awful lot about our community; but then again, Father Tim and Father Pete preceded me in line, so that just might be the basis of his familiarity.
When he asked me where I serve, I mentioned that I was the pastor of Old Saint Joe's and Saint Norbert College; he smiled and said, "that sounds exciting!" Later I added the usual comments about my work at GBCI and among the Packers. Guess what? He passed the test! While speaking glowingly about the Colorado Rockies, he did not say a word about the Broncos! He kiddingly mentioned the work he's done with the Rockies together with another Bishop friend of his, so he was aware of what sort of kidding and ribbing my ministry requires me to "take for the team!"
Fortunately, the Bishop did not ask for any info on those billboards calling for Brett to return home to take up the role as Green Bay's 12th Bishop. Oops, I might have read those flashing signs on Hwy 41 a bit mistakenly!
Sports allegiances aside, this guy seems to be a great fit for our Diocese; at least upon my reflections based on one quick meeting. Conversing with some of the priests as I approached my car in the lot, others seemed to have shared my enthusiasm. I join others in looking forward to his return to the Diocese at summer's end. Given his down-to-earth nature, my prayer is a bit simpler now as compared to the previous post:
Dear Bishop David, "God's flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd's care!"