Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have been blessed at St. Mary's with a number of young men, including seminarians, who have been ordained to serve God in the Holy Priesthood. Unfortunately, they are often allowed to stay only a short while before being called to serve in a parish of their own, but each has made an impression on our community.
A few of them are Fr. Peter Smith now serving at St. Mary's in Wichita, Kansas; Fr. Gregory Murphy serving at st. Michael's in Geneva, New York; Fr. Anthony El Bahou at Ss. Constantine and Helen in Dallas, Texas; and Fr. Matthew Streett serving at a Greek Orthodox parish in Virginia. We can be justly proud of every one of them. I am personally very proud of them.
We must now say goodbye to Fr. Peter Defonce and his Khoureeya Nadezhda who will be leaving the first week in August for a trip to visit relatives in Russia before preparing to go to their parish assignment - St. George Church, El Paso, Texas, as of September 1, 2005. Fr. Peter came to Boston right out of St. Vladimir's Seminary. He joined St. Mary's as a layperson, married Nadezhda in our parish where he was also ordained to the Holy Diaconate. His ordination to the Holy Priesthood took place at St. George, Boston. He and his wife have endeared themselves to us over these past few years and we will miss them very much. He has been a great help to me personally and a blessing to many of you.
Please allow me to express my gratitude to you, the people of St. Mary's, for welcoming these men and their families with hospitality and love. Such openness is a sign of the presence of God in our midst; a sign that the Holy Spirit has taken up his abode among us. That they are all such fine priests is a tribute to our community. Good pastors are molded by gracious communities. We are all in this together, giving what we have to give, using the talents with which God himself has gifted each one of us and in this way contributing to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
I often have remarked that I believe God sent me to St. Mary's so that I might be healed. I still believe that and I am grateful to God and to everyone of you for making a contribution to that healing. We are all in this together and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Antony Hughes