Thursday, January 31, 2013

Commencement.


    It is customary to call graduation from a school or a course of study the commencement for the obvious reason that the occasion not only marks the end of that course of study but, more importantly, the beginning of the rest of the student’s life thereafter.  We should, also, call retirement from a job or a position a commencement.

    Can you imagine leaving your native country in the 1950s to arrive in Florida to commence your career as a priest and devoting over 50 years in that vocation?  Can you imagine starting a new parish from nothing and building it up over 43 years and serving as its sole priest and pastor?  During that time, you observed the bad and the good - from birth through death, tragedies, suffering, family and personal travails as well as triumphs.  You observed the change of the country through these years and you observed the change in your city and community as well as the change of your parish.
Throughout it all, you saw Bishops come and go as well as Popes come and go and the changes from  pre-Vatican times through post-Vatican Council times.
   
    As I reflect upon the life of my pastor, the pastor of Prince of Peace parish, for all these years, who retires today, I think about his life and his experiences.  Fr. Michael J. Larkin now embarks upon his commencement into his life of retirement.  And, he does so with my profound respect and gratitude for is service to the Lord in his vocation as well as the gratitude of all of his parishioners, former parishioners, and all who have had the opportunity to have known him.  He brought to all of us his joy of life, his smile, his positive and uplifting attitude as well as his comforting and healing personality as he served the Lord in his capacity as one of His shepherds. 
    The service of this wonderful holy man has been the ideal of a parish priest and pastor.  Those who taught him had a great student and he learned well from them.  He has a distinctive voice and laugh that is unmistakable.  He lead us not only by his homilies and teachings but, also, by his example.  He willingly was available 24/7 to minister to the sick and to be there to administer to the dying.  He readily spent untold hours over the course of his lifetime saying Mass in nursing homes and working with his Extraordinary Ministers to bring the Holy Eucharist to all Catholics in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes in our parish. He devoted endless hours to evangelizing to inactive Catholics and non-Catholics and to converts and to reverts.  He was there to minister those who were undergoing marital problems and other family problems.  He was always happy to be there for everyone who wanted the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  And, he loved to spend time with his parishioners for a nice meal and conversation.  He was a man in every sense of the word - he love sports including football and he was no stranger to a golf course or two.  But, he was  in no small measure a man of God.

    Those of us who have known him as our pastor, priest and friend will miss him greatly in that capacity as our pastor and priest.  But, we also wish him the very best as begins this new life of his and hope that he gets the very well deserved rest and the enjoyment of his new life. And, of course, we hope and pray that we have that, more than occasional, personal encounter with him in the future. 

    I feel very confident that when he gets to heaven he will be told by our Lord “Well done, good and faithful servant” and there will be a place waiting for him.

    Please join me in saying prayers for this remarkable holy man and priest who stands as a shining example for all of us.

Let me know what you think.

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

REM (Ray Makowski) Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer

1 comment:

  1. As one of a group of former Baptists and other Protestants that came into the Church during 2009-2011 through Prince of Peace Parish, I can only say that we will miss Fr. Larkin. Not as much as those of you that have known him all these years though. But I can testify that as a member of that group, we were all warmly welcomed and made to feel finally at home by his love and understanding. Fr. Larkin, while loving us, never failed to issue challenges to us to never stop learning about the wondrous and mysterious Church. For that, I will always be grateful.

    David Graham

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