Happy New Year! I am praying that 2014 will be a better year than the last. I want to utilize this article as a way to say thank you to all of you who reached out to me since Christmas. If you did not hear, the third wise man on St. Anastasia’s Christmas card, my dog Jerry, died two days after Christmas. Some folks say, “It was only a dog!?!” But as our maintenance man said, “No way Father, Jerry was part of the staff.” Grief is grief and it has been ruff (pun intended). With my black lab Andy, they gave him two to four weeks to live, and he lived another eight months. Therefore, I had all that time to say good bye. Unfortunately with Jerry I did not have that privilege. I had a routine with Jerry. He would follow me from the rectory and join me in the parish office. After diligently sniffing and watering all the plants, he would wait at the office door until I let him in. For some bizarre reason on that day he went all the way down to John R. Someone hit him and left him.
I am glad the office was closed between Christmas and New Years since it gave me a chance to “adjust”. When I got Jerry, he had been in a shelter for a month and since he needed surgery, no one would adopt him. They were about to euthanize him, when I rescued him. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2416) teaches: “Animals are God’s creatures. By their mere existence they bless Him and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.” I feel very blessed to have been able to show Jerry kindness. He certainly made my life much richer. So, again thank you for the kindness and patience you have shown me while I still “adjust”. If you have a pet, give ‘em a hug. Please keep the prayers coming.