On Sunday, my parish of St. Pius X celebrated the 40th anniversary of the ordination of our pastor, Fr. Jim Farrell. Although it was a bit intimidating being the sole deacon amongst 15 priests celebrating the Mass, I was honored to be a part of this special day.
We had a standing-room-only crowd at the 1:30 p.m. Mass, and over 500 people stayed for the luncheon afterward. It was a fitting tribute to a man who epitomizes Pope Francis’ repeated call to priests to “walk the faith.”
I have been honored to know Fr. Jim all of his 40 years years as a priest, as his first assignment after ordination was as associate pastor of St. Pius X, my lifelong parish. From the beginning, he was a man of compassion, relationship-building, and ‘connectedness.’
Carol and I were married by Fr. Jim 32 years ago and our lives have continued to intertwine with his. He was on the committee that hired me as Director of Fatima Retreat House, and then ultimately replaced me in that position himself when I moved on. By the time I was ordained three years ago, Fr. Jim had been reassigned to St. Pius X as its pastor, after serving as pastor at four other parishes and touching countless lives throughout the Archdiocese. He “vested” me at my ordination, and has served as an outstanding mentor, teacher, and friend as I have begun my own journey in ordained ministry.
I will consider myself successful in my ministry if I can be half the servant Fr. Jim is. He is fully present to each person he meets. He has an incredible depth of compassion and makes everyone with whom he speaks feel valued. These relational gifts, along with his gifts of preaching and leading retreats, are a blessing to the Church.
Fr. Jim Farrell is a model of walking the faith and I am honored and blessed to serve with him.