By Fr. Joachim, O.P.
It is with great sadness that I bid farewell, a second time, to St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish and to the city of Columbia. But this is the life of a friar. We are always on the move trying to bring God’s message of love and mercy to everyone we meet.
I chose to come back to the Newman Center because my first experience was so wonderful. And I thought to myself, “What a great place to retire.” Little did I know that I would still be doing ministry, much to my delight. I have enjoyed these last few years as much as, if not more than, I did the first ones I spent here. Why? Because this is such a welcoming, vibrant, and self-giving community. St. Thomas More community has many people who give of themselves selflessly to the Newman Community, as well as to the larger Columbia community. Many people I have met in Columbia have told me that when they come to Newman, they experience the joy of Christ in this Community. And I have to agree with them. Christ is present in the St. Thomas More Newman Community. And he is present because of you and the way you work together to bring God’s love to others.
But now, I move on. I think it’s time that I think about truly retiring. So, on January 13 (weather permitting!), I will be going to St. Pius V Priory in Chicago, which is a community of about 20 friars, some still active, some retired, and some semi-retired. Into which category I will fall has yet to be determined. But whatever God asks of me, I hope I have the willingness to respond. However, I have had a good example of how to give of oneself in the parishioners here at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish. I will carry that example with me to Chicago.
I have one last request before I leave: please remember me in your prayers. Because I hope I will have lots of time for prayer, you will always be in my prayers. That will be a win-win situation for all of us. Thanks again for the kindness you have shown to me for the time I have spent here at Newman. It has, indeed, been for my pleasure and the enhancement of my spiritual life. May God continue to bless you in the future in your individual and community endeavors.