Dear Friends,

This is a challenging letter to write. I know what I want to say, but I am struggling with how to start. This is the same difficulty I had when writing a college term paper. The first paragraph is the hardest.

I will start by thanking you for your support and assistance these last twelve years. Twelve years is the longest assignment I have had as a priest. I was in Grinnell just a few months shy of twelve years. Your kindness and friendliness have always been apparent, and I appreciate your dedication to our faith, our Church, and our parish.

We have had some wonderful staff members here, dedicated and loyal, devoted to the well-being of the parish and of the individual parishioners. I am grateful for their service. The staff members have learned to read my handwriting, and to accept my foibles, neither of which is easy.

I also thank God for the gift of a call to priesthood, and for his patience and mercy. Speaking of mercy, I ask forgiveness for anyone I offended or angered. It would not have been my intent to cause anyone difficulty.

I am grateful to my family for the love and support I have known from my immediate and extended family.

I have joined the community of retirees at Park Center in Newton. I am grateful for the people who helped move me there in recent weeks. It was a daunting task to prepare to move, and I hope to soon be unpacked and ready to enjoy retirement.

Remember that with a new pastor there will be change. Father Tony Herold is very competent, and I have every good expectation for his ministry here. For his sake—and to assist in a smoother transition—I believe it is necessary that I refrain from attending Sunday Mass here for a while, even though I will be a parishioner here now also, and Fr. Tony will be my pastor too.

Our staff has all worked hard during the pandemic to keep the parish going and to care for you, even if sometimes remotely. Andrew and Luke have provided good assistance in recording Mass each weekend for posting on YouTube.

As retirement nears I also want to express my appreciation for the Knights of Columbus. Our local council does so much for our parish, and I am grateful for the constant support of the Knights of Columbus, especially during those five years when I served as the state chaplain. I also express thanks and appreciation for the statewide leadership of the Knights of Columbus.

We have a wonderful group of volunteers in the parish. This is all part of stewardship, which is an important component of Sacred Heart—the sharing of time, talent, and treasure. When I first arrived as pastor here and learned that we have a full time Stewardship Director, I wondered, “Do we really have that many wills and bequests that the parish has a full time Stewardship Director?” Kathy Hammerly quickly brought me up-tospeed, and I have grown so much in understanding stewardship, and I am now finding it quite easy to speak and preach about it, and I am grateful that I have been able to grow in this way. This is all so consistent with Vision 2020, which Bishop Zinkula has directed so well.

I am always pleased to assist a family when there is a death of a loved one. Death can be such a challenging time, and I am pleased that you have invited and allowed me to accompany you on that journey with your loved ones. I have presided at 161 funeral services or funeral Masses here, and have grown to love preaching at funerals. Why? Because at a funeral, people really want to hear a significant message, in contrast to a wedding T hi r t e en th S u n d a y in O rdin a r y Tim e Ju n e 28 , 2020 P a g e 5 at which many just want to get the service over with so they can get to the party. Presiding and preaching well at a funeral is one of the more important things I get to do, and I appreciate those opportunities to assist at your time of need.

Even more pointedly has been the honor to preside at the funerals for both a husband and wife. To my count, this has happened for 15 families in our parish in the last twelve years.

Another special time for me has been the baptisms. You do such a wonderful job of gathering around the font for the baptisms. At the end of the baptism—when I carry the newly baptized child around to present this new Christian to you—it is always amazing how good the children are as I carry them. At that same time, I get the pleasure of seeing all the smiles on your faces as you interact with the child. Those are priceless moments! I have presided at 144 baptisms at Sacred Heart.

I have enjoyed preaching here, and always find that you are attentive. I hope I have said something along the way that is helpful to you. I really enjoyed preaching on Pentecost in 2017 and leading you to believe that I had gotten a tattoo, “Love,” in 14 point Times New Roman on my left arm. I had been planning that introduction to that homily for years.

I am grateful for your support with parish improvements and repairs. We added spaces to the church parking lot, new doors for McCann Center (now accessible), new sound system in the church, gathering space screen, new windows in McCann Center, island in the rectory kitchen, new washer in the rectory, new cross on the front of the church, colored glass in the gathering space, a new road at the cemetery, and computerized mapping of the plots and graves, major organ repair work, new fiberglass panels on the roof of McCann Center, every classroom is now hard wired for the internet and has a flat-screen monitor, and a new roof on the rectory. Dean Baker is so instrumental in these things, and the parish is grateful for his generous service. Where would we be without Dean?

The work of the parish is entrusted in many ways to the various commissions, and I am grateful for those parishioners who have chaired commissions and those who have served on commissions. A few other volunteers are here almost daily; Katherine Dietrich washes the altar linens and irons the purificators, and prepares meals for deanery meetings and communal penance, and Barb Ellis handles the care of the vigil candles. Our library, directed by Kay Fisher, is undoubtedly the best parish library in the diocese.

The Finance Council and Pastoral Council are advisory councils to the pastor and are diligent in their consultations, in concert with the parish trustees.

The pastor here is blessed that both Ann Ratliff and Kathy Hammerly are life-long parishioners; their knowing families and knowing connections has been such a benefit to me.

Virginia Bennett has been so dedicated to the music ministry, but you could make her wonderful smile even better if a few more men would join the choir.

The volunteer receptionists have been such a help to me and all the support staff. I miss seeing them during the pandemic, and hope they will return soon.

There are so many more people I would like to mention, to whom I would wish to offer thanks and appreciation, but I know that Ann will want this not to be too lengthy, and so I close this offering my love, prayer, respect, appreciation, and thanks.

Sincerely in Christ,

William E. Reynolds

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856