This weekend my parish in Los Angeles began saying goodbye to the man who has been our pastor for twenty-eight years -- an astonishing stretch. Fr. Kevin Larkin will retire at the end of the month, and this past Sunday our parish celebrated a special Mass to honor his time with us.
Ten priests celebrated with him, including Fr. Tony Scannell, a Franciscan who has been on-loan to us for several years. In his homily, Fr. Tony focused on something I hadn’t heard spoken of in a very long a time: what a good thing it was to be a priest.
He recounted the changes in American life since Fr. Larkin took over as pastor (and since his ordination 50 years ago -- something else we celebrated this Sunday). Through this time, generations had literally grown-up with Fr. Larkin -- he had married couples, baptized their children, married those children, and in some cases, baptized the grandchildren. He was a central part of the human parade, and Fr. Tony spoke of the “joy” the priesthood brought to him and to others. Of the eleven priests assembled, there was not one dry eye.