We just can't help ourselves as we measure time and reflect and reminisce at the milepost moments in life. The end of a year and the beginning of another is one such milepost. I can honestly tell you that 2016 was more than average thanks in large part to the April 30th wedding of the century. On that raining mild April evening my little girl Elizabeth married Mark Moroney and the rest is history. You may recall that it was quite the event as Wendy and I made every effort to give Elizabeth the wedding of her dreams. She made a beautiful bride that night, the wedding was the first such event at the new Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and I was privileged to both walk my daughter down the long aisle but to also preach at her wedding. A great time was had by all that night and I remember marveling late that evening that how could this wedding already be over. But the marriage just got started and I'm happy to report that Elizabeth and Mark are living happy ever after about 25 short miles away!
Speaking of Most Holy Trinity my former assigned parish did indeed dedicate that new beautiful church in January 2016. I was thrilled to have been invited to participate in the dedication and to renew friendships with so many MHT parishioners and families!
January also brought about the new relationship in my life. Wendy found some PT temporary employment at a no-kill animal shelter. One day she came home with a puppy, and I was hooked. My little girl Delilah is now a most important part of my life and my constant(when I'm actually home) lap partner. I've never had a dog so attached to the hip and I do kind of like it!
A new chapter for Wendy began in May as doctors agreed she would benefit from no longer trying to maintain a steady job and she began life on disability. It proved to be quite an adjustment for Wendy as she has worked in some capacity since she was 15. Wendy had a very productive career in the field of accounting and bookkeeping. She now spends plenty of time cooking, caring for Delilah and sewing. By the way she is quite the seamstress!
The joys of our lives are always Calvin and Katelyn, our wonder grandkids who live far away in North Carolina. While 2016 brought many a weekend on Skype, and they came to visit us for Elizabeth's wedding, Wendy and I managed three trips to North Carolina in July, September and December. You can only imagine what great joy these trips are and we especially enjoyed being with them so close to Christmas time this year.
My life as a Permanent Deacon brought many more ministry opportunities. 2016 will be remembered as my first full calendar year back home ministering at St. Jane's in Abita Springs. One of the big highlights for the year has been the robust Bible study that we have maintained now for the past 15 months dating back to September 2015. I rejoiced in every Baptism I had in 2016 and look forward to the two already booked for January 2017. Prison ministry saw some excitement as we hosted Archbishop Aymond during the summer and we also offered the men two exciting full day retreat/days of reflections complete with a huge lunch. I get so excited seeing the men experience moments of profound joy when we can offer events like these.
I did something in 2016 that I have not done in over 8 years, due to great necessity I purchased a new car. My new vehicle is a 2016 GMC Terrain purchased on November 11th and it already has 5,000 miles. Retired from service permanently was my old rock steady 2008 GMC Acadia with 221,000 miles.
Profound challenges did await Wendy and I at the end of 2016 and are still persisting tonight as I write. Wendy's mom took ill around December 18th and is now hospitalized for the 6th day battling pneumonia, possible congestive heart failure and profound weakness. She is not doing well at all and we pray for healing soon. Wendy spends plenty of time with her mom as she lay in the hospital and is feeling the effects of worry and exhaustion. And I found out just last night that it seems very unlikely that I will finish 2017 with the same employer that I started with back in 2012. I've commented before on the professional life changing results that leaving Capital One and landing at FNBC Bank provided. I have a great little set up in Pearl River and was closing out another successful sales year. But things have been tough for FNBC Bank in the second half of 2016 so my bank decided to sell off 9 branches to competitor Whitney Bank. Yes, my branch was one of the nine. It is my desire, as of this writing, to remain with my little branch in Pearl River and transition to Whitney, that's of course the good Lord willing and Whitney keeping me on board. Early indications are that is a strong possibility.
So after an incredibly great year highlighted by the wedding of the century, faith, family and even year end challenges, I look back with profound happiness, thanking God for all my blessings and look forward to both the challenges and the opportunities that 2017 has to offer!
May we all experience profound blessings and grace, peace and understanding in the new year to come!