June 16th – Farewell Message from Fr. Andrew

“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.” How appropriate this Sunday’s Gospel is for a priest’s farewell from a parish community that he loves! I am simply a laborer in Christ’s mission field, scattering seeds where I can, offering the presence of Jesus Christ through the exercise of His priesthood. Little Flower is my second priestly assignment and the point from which I begin a new journey as a parish administrator. This parish and this area have always been home for me, close to my family and many friends. So, this move is bittersweet.

But, we laborers always follow the Lord’s call, wherever it takes us. That is an important lesson for all of us as we journey through life. I want to thank all of you for making me one of your own, for always having a kind word, and most of all, for your prayers. A priest lives on the prayers of his people. I want to thank Fr. Manny for his fatherhood, his mentorship, and his friendship to me these two years. He sets the tone for a wonderful rectory that is full of lively priestly fraternity. I thank my brother priests, Frs. Stephen, Uko, Escamez, and Francis for being such good brothers as I continue to grow in my early years of priestly ministry. I thank the Carmelite sisters for their steadfast prayer and dedication to their ministry and to priests. Serving at St. Theresa School was a constant source of joy in my daily life. 

I could not have asked for a better two years of ministry. There is absolutely nothing I would change. 84 weddings, 82 funerals, and 39 baptisms later, like the laborer in the field, I pray that the seeds I have sown in my time at Little Flower bear abundant fruit for the Lord. I will not see most of them, but that is precisely how it should be. The labor of sowing seeds continues in a new field, a new corner of the Lord’s Kingdom at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Coral Springs. Brothers and sisters, until next time, may God abundantly bless all of you!

Fr. Andrew Tomonto

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