Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
Away, but not abandoned: The week of the 9th through the 12th, both Fr. Julius and I will be away from the parishes.  I will be catching some of the final days allowed me for this year’s vacation time, but more than that, I have to have a tiny basal cell removed from my lower eyelid on the 9th, so figure that I may have some swelling or edema for the week after, so decided it is good to relax at the lake and let it return to “normal”—as much as bags under the eyes of one who is 70 can be normal again.  LOL. It is no big deal, but figured I am better to say what it is so that the stories one might hear can be deflated beforehand.  I missed Virginia Zeller’s funeral due to the initial appointment for the doctor to determine what needed to be done, and when I arrived back at the luncheon, the rumors had already began that I had cataract surgery that morning!  Go figure. They were all amazed at my speedy recovery!  Even more amazing! 
If I’m lucky, they will have to tweak just enough of the area under the right eye that i will be able to justify to insurance that the other side has to be corrected too!  Wouldn’t that be a plus!  Ha!  Not likely though.  Besides, there is still the upper eyelids that are looking like Mr. Magoo’s, and the drooping chin, so unless the full monte, why bother!
In October, the Diocesan Priests and those serving in parishes (CSC or others) are attending Days of Continuing Education which will run from the evening of the 8th until midday of the 10th.  That is held at Pokagon Center at the State Park.  Usually a pretty time to be around the lake again. 

The 18th of this month is the 70th.  Some ask “When do you get to retire?”  My stock answer has been “At 75 or death, whichever comes first.”  Bishops also turn in their letter of retirement at 75, though sometimes they stay on a year or two after, awaiting Rome to appoint someone new.  Priests can stay on, or maybe live “in residence” only at a parish, helping with Masses (for exchange of room and board).  It helps to be able to afford to live retired if one isn’t paying for housing, food, etc.  We still continue to pay for our own car, car insurance, and any other living costs. SS doesn’t amount to much when a priest since we never made that much, presently about $1000 a month.  Our Diocesan retirement is modest also.  Maybe I’ll lose weight when that time finally comes!  Priests who have been given family money may retire in a little more comfort (secular or diocesan priests never took a vow of poverty as do CSC’s or Franciscan’s or other Religious Order priests).  Ironically or maybe not, most priests do not come from wealthy families, but rather simpler backgrounds.  There are exceptions, but not many in our diocese that I’m aware of. 

I always chuckle when someone says they can’t do much by way of charity (or a weekly contribution to the church) because I’m “on a fixed income”  Priests have always been on a fixed income and not a large one at that.  The truth is, as I’ve always said, you cannot out-do Almighty God in generosity.  I’ve always been able to be generous and have never wanted for anything of any importance.  It’s a good life.  I only tell all this since people ask and some assume much more than what is factual. 
- Fr. John