Happy birthday! We’re old. 250 years is a long time, especially in this continent. I knew a bit about Assumption before I came here, since I used to come for the occasional visit when I lived just across the river at Ste. Anne’s in Detroit. Nothing, though, could have prepared me for my experience here. As Patrick Brode wrote in the introduction for 250 Years of Assumption Parish, “so central was Assumption to the province’s spiritual origins that historian Michael Power concluded, ‘the history of the faith in Southwestern Ontario was the history of its development in Our Lady of the Assumption Parish.’” That is certainly something to celebrate.
Yet as important as our history is, we also celebrate the parish as it is today. As time went on from those early days, parish after parish was carved out of what had been one. Today, with the reality of the Church in the early twenty-first century, parishes are being merged, and Assumption now consists of what had become four parishes: Assumption, Blessed Sacrament, Holy Name of Mary, and Saint Patrick. And as we look to the future and our association with Saint Alphonsus and Saint Angela parishes as part of one family, we have even more adventures ahead of us.
The gospel passage that the Church gives us as we celebrate our sestercentennial is a great challenge to me, and I hope it is to you as well. In the parable about the two sons we hear that it is not what we say, but what we do that is important. Thus, we are called to discern God’s will for our parish and then take action to put that into practice. I am certain that we are up for the task! Assumption is a vibrant community of faith, which to paraphrase Michael Power’s words, is still contributing to the history of the faith in Southwestern Ontario. We continue to be an important presence in West Windsor, reaching out to Catholics and people of all faiths or none. I am convinced that this community will continue to be important to Windsor for many years to come. I am deeply grateful that you have welcomed me into your lives and hearts. I pray that God continue to bless each of you with life and grace.