Dear Family of St. Vincent de Paul,
I am grateful for your assurance of prayer for my continuing recovery. And it is continuing: I am getting a little stronger every day and I fully expect to be well enough to go home within a month or so. But I do not realistically expect to get to be strong enough to perform all the ministry that you have a right to expect of your pastor.
I have therefore decided that it is time for me to retire. I have submitted my letter of resignation of the office of pastor to be effective Monday, February 27th at noon, and the Archbishop has accepted it. We will have a Mass at St. Vincent’s on Sunday, February 26th at 10:30 AM to give me an opportunity to sum up my ministry and say farewell to each of you. A reception will follow and I hope as many as possible of you will help celebrate the Mass and the ensuing party.
I will try at that liturgy to express my gratitude for all that you have done for me and with me over the past 43 years. But I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone, whether they are able to attend Mass or not. I continue to be overwhelmed by the spirit of our community, by its devotion to the Word of God, by its celebration (and I do mean exactly celebration) of the liturgy, and by its growing tradition of service to the individual and the neighborhood, the nation and the world. I flatter myself to think that I have had a hand in developing this spirit and this ministry, but I surely hope that it is not dependent on me. If the spirit of the community begins to founder in my absence, then I have wasted forty years. But if the community continues to grow stronger in the present and in the future then perhaps my ministry can be considered a success.
I have great confidence that this will occur. I have heard of how well the community has been doing during the months of my illness. The leadership of our Pastoral Associate, the diligent work of the staff, and the collaboration of so many members of the family undergird my hopes for the future of the community.
In closing I would like to express my thanks for all you have done for me and been for me during these past 43 years, and I apologize sincerely to all those who have been hurt because of my many limitations and failings.
While I am resigning the office of pastor, I have no intention of dropping off the face of the earth. Every member of the parish is welcome to visit me at my home, and I look forward to seeing you at least occasionally at the weekend liturgies, whenever I may be asked to help out. I will continue to pray for each of you and hope that you in turn will pray for me.
Asking God’s continued blessings on our parish family,
I remain, in peace and love,
Richard T. Lawrence
Pastor, St. Vincent de Paul Church, 1973-2017
Click here for more information about Fr. Dick’s last Mass and retirement brunch.