Saturday, December 16, 2006

Priest of Opus Angelorum heads to the Philippines - Farewell planned for Sunday following Noon Mass

From last weeks Assumption Grotto News - the bulletin of the parish:

On December 17th, after the Noon Mass come and say goodbye to Fr. Eusebius and wish him well on his new assignment to the Philippines. If you are planning on attending, please bring a Pot Luck Dish to pass. For further information or questions, call Sue Allasio at 313-881-7141.

It's my understanding he will be with us through the end of the year and leave sometime in January. But, don't wait to wish him well and thank him if you cannot make it to the post-Mass farewell.

Fr. Eusebius has appeared in many photos taken at Assumption Grotto, but typically where Our Lord is the central focus. Feel free to click on a photo, then right-click and save it to your computer for personal use. If anything, use them to remember his simple and profound homilies, his merciful counsel in the confessional, and any time you need a reminder to turn off the TV, get off the computer for a while, skip that next piece of chocolate and offer it up, spend time in adoration of Our Lord, studying the angels and saints, reflecting on God's mercy, and last but not least, a reminder to just go to confession frequently, even if it is only devotional. There is one other thing you can remember through these photos - all that he has worked to teach us about the Angels of Scripture, and our guardian angels. His talk on the angels during Mass at last week's Day of Recollection was simply awesome.

When you do view this post or look upon these photos in the future, be sure to offer a prayer for Fr. Eusebius and all whom he will come into contact with. We know already what others will learn soon enough: This priest can help the young to hear their call to the priesthood or religious life, and make others enthusiastic about just becoming better human beings. The notion of making small and simple sacrifices for the purpose of "offering up" (Col 1:24) has been absent for decades. But, Father's gentle reminders of making use of them as an offering and as a way to tame the will has been most effective.

In all of these photos involving Fr. Eusebius we see a central theme: Our Lord should be at the center of our lives. His departure leaves us with an opportunity to re-evaluate whether we are following Christ through the priest, or following the priest himself. Good priests want merely to lead us to Christ and not be viewed themselves as the objects of our faith - something only fitting for God. It is easy to become dependent on one or another priest, especially when they move us from the cement in which we have embedded ourselves. But if we trust God, we trust He will provide us with others who will feed our spiritual needs and growth, especially if we pray for them. A priest who may not be gifted in the same ways, nor have the same charisma, can be gifted in other ways - ways that God deems good for us at a particular time.

In the time I have spent at Assumption Grotto, with regular exposure to at least 5-6 priests, I have found that each has something to offer that compliments that of the others. I believe this is the reason why God sometimes mixes things up for us when we would like them to remain as they are.

A few memorable photos in which Fr. Eusebius appeared from the Te Deum archives:

Assumption Day - August 15, 2005: Fr. Perrone holds the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament as Fr. Eusebius holds the sleeve of the Assumption Grotto pastor out of the way

On the same day at the 9:30am Mass during Elevation of the Body of Christ in a photo I've named, "Panis Angelorum".

From a Mass during the 2005 Forty-Hours Devotion - a photo which is also seen in the header of this blog.

Benediction in the Grotto following Mass in the Church on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 2006

His Angelic Chasuble...

And, at the monthly Holy Hour for Vocations, which he typically leads

As difficult as it is to say goodbye, we have to keep in mind that this Holy Order is one with a Missionary charism - something that is multi-faceted, but includes physical missionary work - sometimes in remote areas. In our prayers we should pray that God graces Fr. Eusebius with fortitude and deeper spiritual growth through his experience there. Consider him in your Rosaries, in your Mass intentions, in your intentions for the Liturgy of the Hours, and most especially in adoration. Pray for one priest and you help all those with whom he comes in contact.

By accepting God's will for him in this new assignment, we accept God's will for ourselves, not without a fond farewell, but also with joy in knowing that in obediently accepting this next stop in his priestly life, he is indeed following the will of God. Our Lord has lent him to us for a time and like training wheels, they must be removed to see if we have the strength to persevere with the many lessons he has taught us. In time, we may find God will bring him back to us in Detroit. There is no doubt in my mind that when he does, he will have all the more wisdom to pass along to us in his homilies, his confessional, his talks, and in his spiritual direction.

May God be with you on your new mission, Fr. Eusebius. If there are needs for the people at your Mission, you know how to reach us.