People in Montreal Are Lucky
Father Frank Leo is a really neat young priest from Quebec who got sent to the University of Dayton to finish up his doctoral research over at the Marian Library. The rest of the time he was stationed over at St. Albert's (my church). We were very lucky to have him. In this difficult year, Father Frank's wonderfully funny (but to the point) homilies explained the Gospel in a way that made you think, and remember what had been said.
So now Father Frank is no longer ABD, and he's going back home to Montreal. We had a huge farewell party for him, and everybody came, old and young. (It was really cute to see the little kids decide that the only way they could see what was going on was to sit on the far side of the dais. Which they did, very quietly.) We ate Italian food and sang Italian songs that were slightly rewritten to refer to Father Frank. (He was intensely embarrassed.) People gave him presents (like the Godfather movies, since Father often joked about them) and advice (our pastor, Father Manning, told him not to let his administrative duties interfere with being a good priest). But then he gave our parish a gift, which I didn't expect -- a chasuble for Ordinary Time, with a band running down the middle that was woven into pictures of little kids from all over the world. It'll be a really nice thing to use for the school masses. It was also a typically bold but well-judged gesture, since this summer Father Frank had to help us deal with finding out that one of our priests, now taken away altogether, had been originally been assigned to our parish to keep him away from kid-related duties, as he'd done some scandalous things as a high school principal down in Cincinnati. Giving the chasuble to the parish and to Father Manning said that we were going to get over this. And in fact, at that point I didn't even think about it; I just thought how beautiful the chasuble was and how nice it was to give the parish a present. I think everybody else thought so, too.
I do regret that I didn't know, until people revealed (much to his embarrassment), that Father Frank plays several different instruments. (You could just see the parish musicians mentally saying, "D'oh!") They also dug up the info that he was a big Trek fan. Well, geez. If I'd known that, I would've been able to talk over some stuff that was bothering me, and not had to explain everything. But...you can't know everything about a person, can you?
Next week, Father Frank becomes pastor of St. Joseph's Church, somewhere in Montreal. Those people don't yet know what kind of pastor they're getting. But by this time next week, they'll know how lucky they are.