In the November newsletter Fr. Eric Bergman writes:
Eleven years ago I went to see Bishop Joseph Martino on the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, October 28, 2004. We discussed the possibility of my entrance into the Pastoral Provision process, and I told him that fifteen households intended to enter the Church with me. Bishop Martino said he would sponsor us and placed our group under the guidance of Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty.
Our fledgling community would be called the St. Thomas More Society, and we would be based out of St. Clare Church in the Green Ridge section of Scranton. Our pastor, I soon learned, would be Msgr. William Feldcamp. Shortly thereafter I met Msgr. Feldcamp for the first time at the rectory in which my family and I would later live for four years. Since that meeting in late 2004 Msgr. Feldcamp has been our parish’s best friend, but because of his role in our establishment, stabilization, and growth it is really more apt to regard him as the father of St. Thomas More Catholic Church. When a little more than a year later we were received into the Church on All Saints Eve, 2005, it was Msgr. Feldcamp who presented us to the bishop, and he has not ceased to intercede on our behalf ever since.
In order to honor him properly for his fatherly solicitude these past eleven years, he was our guest at the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, November 1, All Saints Day. And a parish photograph was taken. You see, ten years ago at the Mass where the founding members of our parish received their confirmation and First Holy Communion we had a photograph taken with Bishop Martino. Unfortunately, because of my failure to inform him of our plans, I could not find our pastor as we posed with the bishop, and Msgr. Feldcamp was left out. I regret that omission with all my heart, so on All Saints Day after the 1o a.m. Mass everybody came out to the stairs of St. Joseph Church, so that our parish might have a 10th anniversary photograph – with Msgr. William Feldcamp at the center.
Though some of our original fifty members have moved away, still others now belong to
their local territorial parish, and Bob, Hannah, Jane, Jerry, Mary Ilene, and Ray have passed on, all who belong to our parish today are spiritual children of the man who first took us in and integrated us into the life of Holy Mother Church.
Our celebration did not end with standing on the stairs of our church for the photograph. Eucharistic Adoration commenced after the picture taking, and we had a pot luck lunch in the Parish Hall beginning about noon. Also, the children dressed as their favorite saints and we enjoyed our annual All Saints costume party, at the end of which there was another photograph.
I’m no prognosticator (I thought the Cubs were actually going to make it to the World
Series this year), but I expect that ten years from now we will have expanded our ministries in a way proportionate to our efforts the first ten years as Catholics. Having attracted a good number of families into our midst we are large enough to contemplate and begin planning a school, which we hope in a decade will be as firmly established as our parish is now.
One way or another we will know the answer to the question I am now asked most often,
“What’s going to happen to the St. Joseph School building: will it be razed or restored?”
We can also expect that many new faces will have joined us. Indeed, we can hope that the membership of the parish will be larger than the front steps of the church will accommodate.
Whatever the next decade brings I hope to be here with you in Scranton for them, and I am grateful beyond words that by God’s grace your prayers, hard work, and generosity have seen us through our first ten years in the Church. Please pray with me that we keep alive the spirit of evangelism that has served us so well and been the real impetus for developments in the Church both near and far since Bishop Martino gave us his blessing to become the unique Catholic community we are and that we hope to remain. May God’s blessings be upon us and may He provide for all our needs in order that we may continue to provide for others.
With prayers for you and yours, remembering with grateful affection in my daily
intercessions those who have gone before us, I am,
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Eric L. Bergman