By Matthew D. Ruhl, S.J.
Thursday, June 6th, 2019, Punta Gorda, Belize
The Rainy Season arrived right on cue with a good thundershower in the wee hours of June 1, Opening Day of Hurricane Season. Of course now at Masses all around the country the Prayers of Petition will including the prayer for protection against all storms. Down south here we are particularly susceptible to flood due to the very poor quality of so many roads. “I can’t get through” is the most common refrain of the Rainy Season.
This month I celebrate 25 years of Pastoring. I was first appointed pastor of St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in North St. Louis 25 years ago in 1994. It has been thus far a genuine adventure. If I were to pick out the greatest reward of these 25 years it would be of the very good, soulful friendships made along the way. What is also gratifying is that after 25 years, I am still extremely happy with my choice of apostolic labor within the Society of Jesus. And it was my dear friend Ed Kinerk, S.J. who patiently listened to all my desires as a scholastic and observed, “Well, Ruhl, we need to train you for parish work.” A couple of years after that, I was the Associate Pastor at St. Joseph’s in East St. Louis when Ed called one morning from the airport and said, “Ruhl, I gotta get you to St. Matthew’s.” Now, here I am, 25 years later, in Punta Gorda, Belize, Pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish.
On May 24th, I received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Scranton. Family and friends were there and it really was a very enjoyable weekend. I am truly honored by that award, especially as it came, unbeknownst to the givers, at the beginning of my 25th year as a pastor. All love and respect to my dear friend Scott Pilarz, S.J., President of the University of Scranton.