Pastor’s Column: When I first arrived at St. Cecilia and St. Peter Claver I felt like a deer in headlights. I had never been a pastor of souls before, and I had never been responsible for a parish. I was feeling overwhelmed. Amid the interior storms that swirled about in me, there was one person I felt I could always turn too, her name was Ada. At both parishes, there were people ready to set up and help but they had lives, families and jobs. Ada was there almost every day, or at least a phone call away. Having gone from high school to college seminary, I had never learned how to cook. And soon with many, many people trying to meet with me from early in the morning till late at night, I didn’t have time too. Ada always made sure that I had food in the rectory and often insisted on making me food with her own hands.
When people called from either parish, Ada could not only tell me who they were, but she could tell me about their family, personality and why they might be calling. She knew most of the parishioners of both parishes and would often stay far later then the hours she officially worked to help those in need. She truly saw her work as a parish secretary as a ministry to the people of God.
Ada almost always had a smile on her face and infinite patience with those who called, even those upset because we could not always fulfill their requests. She was often the one who would tell me I needed to take a day off or go on vacation, though she very rarely took vacation herself.
Often when I was unsure about a decision I had to make; I would consult Ada. Even on her few days off, she and Joe would usually be at daily mass at St Cecilia’s or St. Peter Claver’s on Saturday mornings.
A few short years ago, she expressed the desire to retire so she could spend her remaining years spending more time with Joe, their kids and grandkids. She was there for all her successors whenever they needed help. She still stayed very active in parish life in so many ways. Ada was a woman filled with faith and love.
Everyone who has spoken to me since her passing has talked about the huge hole that we all feel in our lives with her absence. Yet everyone has expressed that while they feel sadness for Ada’s family and friends, they don’t for Ada. She lived a good and holy life filled with joy and grace. She always said when it was her time, she wanted it to go quick, and that she got. But an added blessing to us all was that she left us on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, which was perfect as she had a huge devotion to Our Lady.
We were blessed to know her, blessed to have seen her example of love, marriage, motherhood, and discipleship. Well done good and faithful, Servant. Go home to rest in the Fathers arms. Pray for us!
Your Brother and Father in Christ,