Fr. S’s Birthday

Celebrated Fr. S’s birthday today with friends. I took this action shot — doesn’t it speak volumes to the fun we had?!?!?

My mom & I got to know Fr. S back in 1993 when he served as a priest in our former parish. Even though my mom and I were always close, we had our rough patches especially during my teenage years when I challenged her and exerted my sense of independence all the time. It’s the normal stuff we all go through as teenagers with our parents. Anyway, Fr. S met us at that point and because of his warmth and vivacious personality, we developed a friendship with him and let him into our lives. He was so helpful to me & my mom as we went through our typical growing pains! He kept reminding me to be loving and patient with my mom and he kept reminding my mom to let me go.

When he returned to Nigeria in 1996, we lost touch (back then, email was a brand new concept) although I had an snail address for him. Our daily lives were just so full that there simply was no more time to write. Mom and I never knew what happened to one of our favorite priests.

Then last September, our pastor announced a new priest in our parish. Mom and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing!! The very same Fr. S who we loved and last saw 9 years ago was back in our midst again?!?!?! He had been in the borough for several years and was recently transfered to our church. We had no idea!!! When we surprised him with a visit to the rectory after Mass, the three of us were completely overwhelmed with joy at the reunion. The look on Fr. S’s face, upon recognizing old friends re-entering his life, was so indescrible that I can only say it looked like a perfect Kodak moment. We hugged, laughed, cried, and relayed milestone events from the past 9 years. The joy I felt was truly incredible: I don’t think I’ve ever felt it before. It was not connected to material wealth or accomplishment; it was simply because it came from love.

I believe that nothing in life is serendipitious. God brought us together, separated us, and brought us back together for a reason although such reasons may not be revealed to us at that very moment or even ever. But I take these beautiful moments with humility and gratitude.

Mom and I have opened our hearts to him and welcomed him into our family especially since he does not have any here. And I know he has done the same for us. We love you Fr. S! Thank you for being a wonderful friend and spiritual advisor to us! May God continue to bless you on your birthday and always. We thank God for bringing you into the world, for the special gifts He bestowed upon you, and for the light you bring to our lives. Happy Birthday!!!

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