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The Joy of Being Your Priest

by Rev. Msgr. Gregory A. Gier


My Dear Parishioners of Holy Family Cathedral:

HFCS Vicki February 2006 093I have been asked several times to make a few reflections on our seventeen years together. I am sure whatever I say will be terribly inadequate to the depth of my feelings and love for all of you over these seventeen years.

The first and foremost reflection comes with the name Monsignor James Halpine. As many of you know, I had known Msgr. Halpine since I was a high school student at Bishop McGuinness High School and he was the Associate Pastor at Christ the King in Oklahoma City. It was a great privilege and a profound challenge to attempt to walk in his shoes. In fact, while it was not truly possible, his presence and support through the rest of his life, made the going much easier. I have deeply fond memories of going to his room and saying, “What should I do about…” He would listen, reflect, and come up with a calm and workable solution. I will always be grateful to him for his wisdom and support.

Following right behind our dear friend, Msgr. Halpine, comes two other names. Deacon Millard Kizzia and Mr. Jim Foley. How could their presence and concern for this Cathedral Parish ever be forgotten?

Millard worked literally to his dying day for the wellbeing of this parish and school. Not only was he present in the sanctuary but ever present at the books and finances of the parish and school. He was a profound support to me and to the many people he and Nita visited in the hospitals of this city.

To this very day I find myself saying, “Where is Foley when I need him?” Be it a funeral, a daily Mass, the Sunday noon Mass or a great celebration, Foley was always there to help and lend his energy. He knew what needed to be done and had whatever was needed ready before I realized we needed it. Again, I had known Jim Foley from my days as an Associate Pastor here in 1971 and when I was pastor at Immaculate Conception from 1976-1980. He was a consistent and dedicated servant of the Church.

There are many, many other names and people who have made these seventeen years wonderful and fulfilling. I dare not try to list them for fear of missing one or ten of them. Many have passed on and hopefully now pray for us from the Eternal Banquet Table. Many are still working diligently here to assist the wellbeing of this parish and school. For these many, many, wonderful people I am deeply grateful and fully realize that the greatest things we have done over these seventeen years have been the result of great combined efforts from both the Parish staff and parishioners.

I am happy to look upon our school with great pride and satisfaction. We have been through truly difficult years and experiences and truly phenomenal educational accomplishments over these seventeen years. I am proud of the many dedicated teachers and principals who have made Holy Family Cathedral School one of the finest of our Diocesan schools. Every pastor claims such things about his school, but we can back it up with statistics and test scores. Holy Family Cathedral School is an excellent educational and religious experience for our parents and students. The school has also been a great opportunity to work with and know some of the most generous philanthropists of our city. Without their encouragement and support, there simply would be no Holy Family Cathedral School.

I can only hope that the present vision of our historic Cathedral brings as much joy to all of you as it does to me. It has been an honor and great privilege to be involved in the restoration of this great city and church landmark. Bishop Slattery’s confidence and support has been unwavering and deeply appreciated. The financial support of the parishioners and other many friends of Holy Family have made possible a truly beautiful and inspiring place of worship. There simply is no way to adequately thank all of the people who have made this reality come true. All of you, I hope, take great pride in what has been accomplished and the worship space we have made possible for ourselves and generations to come.

It has been, for me, a wonderful and fulfilling time in my life. I can enter my new position as “the new Halpine” with a great example to follow and emulate. I am happy to become the Rector Emeritus and remain involved in the life and future of this wonderful parish. I honestly think my present energies will serve you better free of administration and open simply to the joys of priestly activity. While I retire from the administrative responsibilities of this parish, I do not nor intend to retire from the joy of continuing to be your priest.

Thank you for these seventeen years we have had together. May we have many more great years together and accomplish new and greater things to the honor and glory of God.

Sincerely in the Holy Family,

Msgr. Gregory A. Gier
Soon to be Rector Emeritus



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