"Planting This Shade Tree"
Dear Parish Family,
We are reminded in the Old Testament that because we come here defenseless and penniless as babies, we are always depending on the work and generosity of others simply to survive. As one pastor has paraphrased:
“We build on foundations we did not lay, We warm ourselves by fires we did not light, We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant, We drink from wells we did not dig, We profit from persons we did not know.” (Rev. Peter Raible on Deuteronomy 6:11)
During the years of my training for the priesthood (2009-2013), I became aware in a deeper way of just how dependent I was on the generosity of others. I learned that the annual cost to educate, house, feed, insure and provide for a priest-in-training was $50,000, which meant that I was not the only one putting myself on the line for this calling… the people of the Diocese of Albany were laying a firm foundation for me. I was drinking from the well that they had dug. If those people, most of whom I did not know, had not invested in me then, I would not be here now.
The core of the funding of seminary tuition, room-and-board and all other related expenses for our future priests comes from our donations to the Diocesan Appeal. So when I say that people invested in me, I mean YOU. If you gave to the Appeal in those years, you were providing training for your future pastor. You laid the tracks that would bring me to Glens Falls in 2021.
Since March of 2020, the people of St. Mary’s have gotten to know Matt Duclos, when he came here as a seminarian who had just been evacuated from his seminary in Rome as Italy was having its first surge of Covid-19. In the many months since then, our parish has walked with Matt and watched as he blossomed into a Transitional Deacon. And then, in June, we saw him ordained as one of the newest priests of our Diocese! As part of Fr. Matt’s seminary program, he has now returned to Rome for two years of special studies which he will use to serve the Diocese of Albany for decades to come.
For all who know Fr. Matt, who have benefited from his faithful service to St. Mary’s during his six months here in 2020 and his additional time here this spring, the annual cost of Fr. Matt’s training in Rome of just over $50,000 is clearly an investment in the ministry of a stellar priest and a true gift to the future generations of our parish and Diocese. Our goal at St. Mary’s for this year’s Diocesan Appeal is $109,000 – almost the precise cost of this final phase of Fr. Matt’s priestly education. I have decided to give 0.5% of my annual income toward this goal, in recognition that others did the same for me a decade ago when I was in his shoes. As others dug the wells from which I drank, now I dig the well for those who will follow.
Will you join me in “planting this shade tree” for the future? Can we light the fire…lay the foundation…dig the well…for Fr. Matt – who is joined by more than two dozen other seminarian candidates in formation as our future priests for the Diocese of Albany? Thank you for the prayerful consideration you use to guide your generous giving. And thank you for providing me with a seminary education that has served me so well and benefitted the parishes I have served in Oneonta, Coxsackie, Ravena and now beautiful Glens Falls. Your gift made a difference me… and to us all.
Your grateful new pastor…