Retirement Reception Honoring Father George
Many gathered in Healy Hall to celebrate Father George’s 18 years of dedicated service and leadership to the people of St. Mark’s, on June 25th from 11 – 3 p.m.
To view photos of Father’s time at St. Mark’s and the reception click on the links below:
Some 18yrs ago, that former seminarian, now a priest for 28yrs, was lead to the parish community of St. Mark’s in San Marcos, CA and appointed to be its Pastor. St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches that the peace that surpasses all understanding and each one of us very much wants to have in his heart, comes from being who God wants us to be and doing what God wants us to do when and where God wants us to do it.
During these past 18+ years, I have never doubted that God wanted me to be at St. Mark’s and so my heart has been blessed with the peace of which St. Ignatius speaks. During these years together, you and I have experienced several popes, several presidents and 3 Bishops. Together, we have embraced some wonderful undertakings – – among the highlights of which have been the construction of our Saint JPII Catechetical Center and the renovation of our main church. We have also had many sacramental interactions some of which the statistics show elsewhere in this bulletin.
What an awesome blessing!
I have also been deeply moved by the many retreats that we have had over the years and the deep conversion experiences that have come about. Our dinner dances and annual Gran Fiesta have given us much joy and left us all for the better as a result of our participation in them. I cannot be more grateful than to have had the opportunity to work with such deeply committed disciples such as those that we have on our current parish staff. I am also personally indebted to the leaders of our countless parish groups and to our ministry volunteers in both of our churches.
What is the priesthood? Because it so deeply involves the mystery of love – – of God and of one another, the priesthood defies any simple description. Permit me to quote from the 1993 Holy Thursday Letter of Pope JPII to all the priests of the church.
Dear brothers, after the Apostles we have received this ineffable gift so that we may me ministers of Christ’s going forth by way of the cross and, at the same time, of his coming in the Eucharist. How wonderful this holy triduum is for us! How wonderful for us is this day-the day of the Last Supper! We are ministers of the mystery of the redemption of the world, ministers of the body which was offered and of the blood which was shed so that sins might be forgiven.
You will honor me to the extent that you continue to strive to grow in your common life of faith, hope and love. You will honor me by the warm welcome you give to my successor, Fr. Bruce. Please give him the same generous support that you have given to me. May our Lord continue to bless the abundant work of grace He has begun in this cherished corner of His vineyard that is called, St. Mark’s.
Much love in the Lord,
Fr. George Dunkley