Monday, 6 December 2010


It was good to be at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Punta Gorda, FL yesterday. The parish buildings are superb, having been built after the 2006 hurricane which destroyed the older ones.

There is a very attractive exterior and the “Church space” itself is very traditional and non the worse for that.

The people of God at Good Shepherd gave me a warm and enthusiastic welcome. They are very fond of their new Priest in Charge Roy Huff, but glad that I could be with them in his absence.

As you know I found it tough sledding to prepare the sermon. I had the usual “nice sermon Father” comments, but a few people went beyond that to let me know that my words had registered with them in a deeper way.

One man said: “That was a very sophisticated sermon; you must have been educated at Harvard”. I am not sure if that was a compliment, or if he was telling me that he had not understood a word!

I had a nice chat a woman who’d been born in Fitchburg MA over 90 years ago.

Chris(topher) and Lisa Kelly came up to Church from their home in Fort Myers, FL - some 15 miles away. I officiated at their wedding at St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield in 1986, where Chris had grown up. 

It was just a few months ago that, by one of those odd “happenstances”, we discovered that we were “more or less” near neighbours.

Lisa and Chris treated me for lunch after service. It was a lovely time as we got caught up, and exchanged news and friendly gossip about our mutual friends.

Michael Cachat was a kid, a teenager, and then a young man during my years in Pittsfield MA (1984-2000). I always admired him.

Now he is serving as a Sergeant with the Army National Guard (Massachusetts 1-181st Infantry Regiment) in Afghanistan. 

I am not at all certain of the strategic necessity and wisdom of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, but as long as it is happening I am glad that young Infantrymen such Michael are there. I pray for him every morning.

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