June 25, 2023

Dear St. Martin of Tours Family and Friends,

It's hard to believe that we are coming to the end of things here at St. Martins. I knew there would be some changes with the consolidation of parishes, but I never thought the Archdiocese would make the decision not to use our church and our facilities. I actually purposely did all I could to reinforce and grow all the good things about our parish (e.g. the JPII school in the school building will have over 60 kids in it next year, the fields are taken care of by SMMA in exchange for their using it to practice, the electronic sign informs church events to the community, the roof has been given an amazing "temporary" fix, we are installing a new church boiler, etc.); we have a surplus; we have grown in membership despite the declining demographics of the area. But what has been decided has been decided.

By the way - as I have said one weekend in all my homilies - I have a peculiar interior sense (and I am by no means a prophet nor am I infallible) that our church will make a return in the future. How this will happen I do not know.

My message this week is for everyone of us to move towards the acceptance of our new situation with an attitude of charity and obedience. By which I mean, first and foremost, continue to come to Mass. I understand the frustration to give up on the Church. Yet such frustration and anger is from the evil one. What God desires is that we turn our anger into love. Pray for those who have made these decisions. Pray for our new brothers and sisters who will form our new parish. Pray for our new priests! Most of all - and this is not a selfish consideration but in my view a holy attitude: Come to church with your hearts set on Jesus and the Eucharist. "Do not give the devil a foothold in you!" (Ephesians 4:27).

Also, please welcome with open arms your new pastor, Fr. Bob Burkemper. He has a very diffi- cult task ahead of him. Not only does he have to prepare to hand over his current parish (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) to a new pastor, he has to merge not two, not three, but five parishes. The logistics of such a task are staggering. So please be welcoming to Fr. Burkemper. He, too, is a son of St. Martin of Tours, having been baptized here, graduated from the school here, said his very first Mass here. He is probably quietly mourning the closing of his home parish, too, yet he has to be obedient to the assignment the Archdiocese has given him.

Even if 10 a.m. Sunday is not your normal Mass time, I am suggesting you come here at this time because we need to help one another. If I am wrong in my suggestion, I apologize, that's just what I would do in this situation; moreover, it is for exactly this reason that Fr. Burkemper has decided to keep one Mass at each of the four closing churches.

In addition to Fr. Burkemper, welcome and pray for our newly ordained Fr. Allen Boedecker, whom most of you know from St. Andrew’s who will be your Associate Pastor, and also welcome Fr. Rick Shilli who will be the Senior Associate.

signature Waldman

Next week: Thoughts on Independence Day.


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