A letter from George Rhodes

Father Buehler, Deacons, and all parishioners of Good Shepherd in Hillsboro,

Amidst these peculiar times, with the interruptions to our daily lives and the different forms of isolation we face, one particular community I miss being a part of right now is the Good Shepherd parish. On Wednesday, March 18, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary closed due to the restrictions it faced in response to the pandemic, along with all the other schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. By 5:00 that evening, all of the seminarians were required to move out of the building for an unknown and extensive amount of time. We were notified on the evening of Monday, only two days prior. Those two days forced the strangest goodbyes on our seminary community, and we did our best to foster joyful fraternity in the sudden, immense change. I packed as many of my things I could into my car and drove back to Kansas that Wednesday afternoon.

One of the difficulties of those two days was realizing I could not come back to Good Shepherd, the parish to which I had been present the past 7 months. Our current state has brought many hardships on all, but such an abrupt and unforeseen departure from your parish is easily among the most significant of such tribulations for me. I regret I do not get to say these things I want to say in person, but this is the best I can do in the circumstances.

The main message of this letter is not grief, though that is present, but thanks and prayer. First, I want to thank God for bringing me to your parish and for all the graces I received there. I want to, of course, thank all of you for allowing me to be a part of Good Shepherd and to serve the community in whatever small ways I could. It was a privilege to be introduced to Hillsboro, even more to be so warmly and consistently welcomed.

I looked forward to coming to your personal and lively parish every Sunday, and even though that opportunity  was so suddenly taken away, I still, in my mind, am assigned to your parish and continue to pray for you all everyday. I pray that God may use this time to be even more present in our hearts and that He may take a greater share of our attention. May this stripping of distractions remind us of our true priorities and help us to make God the center of our lives now and forever.

Be assured of my continued prayers for all of you and your families. Please continue to pray for me and my priestly formation.

Your brother in Christ,
George Rhodes

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