Saturday, January 19, 2008
Dear fellow believers at Al Qa'im, Haditha, Korean Village, Hit, Rawah, and the many outposts throughout west Anbar,
Greetings in Christ.
Upon my arrival in September to RCT-2 it was clear that my mission would continue as long as Catholic coverage was needed. Two weeks ago RCT-5 arrived with two priests. You are, thus, very well provided for so my work here is over. Please make a warm welcome for Fathers Jim Connolly and Steve Vandenboogard.
It has been a grace and a powerful walk of faith to serve all of you and to work together to build up the Church, the Body of Christ, in west Anbar. Many of you have worked very hard to collaborate in the service of the people of God so that they might have a regular opportunity to worship together on the Lord's Day. For that I thank you and assure you that God will reward you.
May you continue to treasure the gift of the Church whereby, with all of the baptized through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christ continues to fulfill His promise: "I will be with you always." This happens in particular as you remain faithful to the Catholic Sunday Celebration, or holy Mass, wherever you find yourselves. May your journey in the Faith be a joyful one throughout the rest of your deployment. God never fails us.
I thank in particular lay leaders SSG Doane, Captain Meads, Specialist Parks, Captain Bain, Captain Falcone, Bob Bassak, Vincent Heningberg, Captain Graham, Corporal Marsh, Jim Gera, CPT Scheurger, Major Landree and the many others who are not mentioned by name who have served well.
And, now, I will say to you what I often say to God's beloved people when the day has been long and the need for rest is great - I quote the Lord - : "I have much to tell you, but you cannot bear it now."
God be with you - let us keep each other in prayer,