Today the Spotlight shines on Fr. Bob Kelly, OP.
In 2016 this parish made the decision to no longer be clustered with St. Michael Parish. We indicated that we wanted to be a “Volunteer Parish”. We requested from the Archdiocese a priest to celebrate the mass and sacraments. We would have a very small paid staff and everything else would be handled by volunteers. The archdiocese assigned Fr. Bob Kelly OP to be our Parochial Administrator.
Fr. Bob went right to work. He saw what needed to be done in our parish and showed us how to prioritize and accomplish our goals. He is a man of action and with his wit, charisma and best of all, common sense he got parishioners involved. In a very short time we had new LED lights throughout the church. By simply saying, “There are envelopes at the feet of the St. Matthew statue if you would like to contribute.” Using that same “tactic” we were able to remove the insulation from the windows around the upper perimeter of the church and replace those windows with Thermal Glass. It only took 48 years, and Fr. Bob, to be able to enjoy the sunlight coming in those windows.
Every chance he had he would stress that “We are a Volunteer Parish!” A Volunteer Director was named, a column listing volunteer positions was posted in the weekly bulletin and parishioners answered the call. Under his guidance a Grant Writing team was organized and are in the process of obtaining grants. These grants will help cover the cost of much needed repairs.
He also leads by example! At most events on the parish campus one will see Fr. Bob setting up and later taking down tables and chairs. As “Vacuum Man” we see him cleaning the rugs in the church or the floor in the social hall. When a call goes out for volunteers to clean or decorate, Fr. Bob is always there helping. More than once, after a snowfall, the man pushing the snow blower around the block, or shoveling snow away from the doors is our own Fr. Bob.
Our parish has grown since Fr. Bob arrived on our campus. People liked his homilies and enjoyed his personality. But change is a part of life. Sadly, this weekend we say good-bye to the man who is our liturgist, our mentor, and our friend. He taught us how to be a Volunteer Parish! Our greatest gift to him will be to follow his example. To build on what he has taught us and to continue to develop our volunteerism and succeed and grow as a parish.
Good-bye Fr. Bob! May God hold you in the palm of his hand!