June 17th, 2018 – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
My heart is filled with many emotions as I write my last bulletin article. The predominant feeling I have is gratitude to God for the priesthood, unworthy though I am, and heartfelt thankfulness to all of you who have become like family to me over these past almost twelve years.
The theme of the readings for this weekend talk a lot about trees and plants. The farmer in the first parable of today’s gospel marvels at how the seed grows and produces fruit. The second parable refers to the mustard seed which, when fully grown, becomes a large plant. I am grateful to God for having worked with Fr. Tim Kitzke and Fr. Brian Mason as we helped form the in solidum team and worked to create the family of four parishes and a common parish council. What the future holds in store is in the hands of the Lord.
For fear of forgetting an individual name, I want to thank Fr. Tim, our deacons and pastoral team (staff) along with our Common Parish Pastoral Council members and trustees for their fine leadership and the willingness to take a risk. Thanks to all of you for your generous donations to St. Rose of Lima Parish where I served as pastor from 1987-1994. Thanks for your generous cards and monetary gifts. A BIG THANKS to all who helped coordinate and execute the four individual receptions in my honor over the past two weekends. In the Lord Jesus we are all united so I ask for your prayers as I will remember you in my prayers and masses.
I will be living at St. John Paul II Parish in the residence which was formerly the rectory and parish office for St. Alexander Parish. St. John Paul II Parish is the result of the merger of St. Alexander’s, St. Helen’s and St. John Kanty. I will be living with three other priests. My email and cell phone number will be the same. My mailing address will be 3373 S. 15th Place, Milwaukee, WI 53215.
So many people have asked me what I will be doing in retirement and where will I be helping out and if I will be part of the rotation in our current parishes. I am trying to take the next 6 months as a time for transition into a new chapter in my life. I will eventually return to parish ministry but I have no idea where I will be celebrating mass, etc. I ask that you respect my need for some privacy before I jump back on the horse. At the same time, I’m sure I will see you again.
Thanks for all your love. I love you all. Please give Fr. John Baumgardner a warm welcome and take the time to get to know him. He is a fine priest and will do well working with Fr. Tim.
Till we meet again.
Fr. Mike Michalski
~ Fr. Mike moving to his new residence.
June 10th, 2018 – Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As we prepare to say farewell to Fr. Mike and welcome to Fr. John, I would like to share this beautiful reflection on the priesthood by the theologian Karl Rahner, SJ :
“The Priest is not an angel sent from heaven.
He is a man chosen from among men, a member of the Church, a Christian.
Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak to you the Word of God.
This Word is not his own. No he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s Word.
Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself. Perhaps he adulterates it.
But he believes, and despite his fears he knows that he must communicate God’s Word to you.
For must not some one of us say something about God, about Eternal Life, about the majesty of grace in our sanctified being, must not someone of us speak of sin, the judgement and mercy of God?
So my dear friends, pray for him.
Carry him so that he might be able to sustain others by bringing to them the mystery of God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus.”
Have a blessed week!
Sincerely, with love,
June 3rd, 2018 – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” (Ps 116:12-13)
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, formerly known as Corpus Christi. The focus is on the first covenant God made with Israel in Exodus chapter 24 after they agreed to accept the words of the Lord and were sealed with the blood of sacrificed animals. However the second reading from Hebrews 9:11-15 remind us that Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant…” (Hebrews 9:15 ) The gospel from Mark 14 which we read on Palm Sunday invites us once more to listen to the words of Jesus who, in the context of a Jewish Passover meal, gave us His Body and Blood under the forms of bread and wine. In praise and adoration we kneel and acclaim O Magnum Mysterium. God loves us so much that he entered the mess of our world to give Himself as food for the journey. Every time we gather as a faithcommunity around the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist, weremember the words of Jesus: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
It is very apropos to celebrate the Eucharist this weekend as I say my farewells and attend the various receptions held over the next two weekends in preparation for my retirement at the end of June. As you may have read my reflections in a recent bullet insert: all of life is a gift and a blessing. I am so grateful to God for 42 years of active ministry and 11 years of service on the East side, Downtown and Riverwest area. It will be hard to say “goodbye” and let go but I am excited to begin a new chapter in my life. I know I may not have the chance to talk to each of you personally but know that I love each and every one of you. I will remember you in my masses and prayers. I have enjoyed working with the many priests in this area, especially with my dear friend Fr. Tim.
I don’t have a game plan for retirement right now. I am exhausted and need some time to rest, unpack, have some fun and spend some time with family and friends. I know that God has something up His sleeve for me but it has not been revealed. All I can tell you is the next phase of my life, however many years God gives me, will be spent as a mystic, trying to listen with the heart and use my right brain. I hope to see you around as the summer unfolds.
Let us pray for one another.
Fr. Mike Michalski