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Pastor’s Message

It is with obvious mixed emotions that have brought me to this day. As I look back over the three years that we have been together, I am reminded of what I wrote in my bulletin article the first weekend I came to our parish. I had said that now that I am a newcomer here at St. Edna, a spirit of welcome is what I hope to find, and that I would do my best to offer this to our community as well. I hope that during our time together you have felt that from me. I certainly have felt welcomed by so many here as well.

Over these years, I have shared with you many times that I am as happy today being a priest as I was on my ordination day. Given all the challenges facing the Church today, that should tell you a lot about how much I love what I am doing as a parish priest. I said that I truly believe the heart and the life of the Church lies at the grass-roots level that are here in our parishes. In all of the parishes I have served, God’s people (that’s all of you) have continued to nourish, strengthen and challenge me and better yet, helped to keep me motivated. Gratefully, this has not changed.

After all these years of priesthood, I have come to learn that when a pastor has worked for and earned the love and respect of his parishioners and they know in their hearts that their pastor is looking after their best interests, great things can happen and even mountains can be moved.

I shared with you, then, that when it comes to running a parish I am very practical, straight-forward and believe in using common sense. We are here for one reason, and that reason is because God first loved us. In his goodness, he has blessed our community of St. Edna with all the talents and resources we need to serve him through our church. Though some may have at times felt my way with words was not the way they might have put things, I want you to know what I have said from the pulpit or written in my bulletin articles or letters came from my heart and with sincerity, and to me, there is no better place to come from. Sometimes it’s hard to hear what needs to be said and we would rather hear what makes us feel good. With that being said, if I have offended anyone, it was never my intention to hurt but only to challenge because that’s what a pastor does and what Jesus, our role model, always did.

I also want to thank you for the challenges you have presented to me that have helped me to grow in my role as a pastoral leader.

As the scriptures remind us, we are many parts, but ONE body. None of us possesses everything we need to get through this life, but collectively, we do. When we work together sharing and using our God-given talents and resources for the good of all, great things happen. Speaking of great things… when I came to St. Edna three years ago, there was a real desire on the part of parish leadership to get our Parish Life Center underway. At that time, I promised all the Leadership bodies of our parish that I would get the much-anticipated Parish Life Center built and that together we could do this. Well, sadly, I may not be here to see the first shovels break ground, but we did accomplish the raising of the necessary funds to get our Parish Life Center
underway, hopefully next spring. Let’s pray that the powers that be will enable this to happen.

This past February in my bulletin column, I shared with all of you some of my thoughts, reflections and frustrations as I looked over the past 34 years of my priesthood. I heard back from so many in our parish of how you could relate to some of my frustrations from your own many years of hard work and experience. I talked about what drew me to the priesthood and why I became and remain a priest. Interestingly, I was always a beloved associate in every parish I have served. (Let’s face it…It’s not too hard to be loved when you are not making decisions that affect the lives of the people in your parish.) Accepting the role of pastor, however, takes you to a whole other level, both in responsibilities and the way in which people relate to you. Fortunately, I was able to get over the hurdle of some of the many challenges of pastoring those many years ago and the tough tasks that come with the “job”. Just as fortunately, I was also able to experience and appreciate the feeling of being the “beloved” pastor as well, but that came with many years of relationship-building with parishioners and learning to put our faith and trust in each other. BUT more importantly, getting to know one another. I have learned there is no shortcut to this process.

As I look back over the past three years, in many ways, I realize that I was just beginning to know some of the many hard-working, dedicated, loving, enthusiastic, and faith-filled parishioners here at St. Edna. Sadly, these relationships will not be able to come to fruition, but please know that the memories you have provided and the kindnesses you have shown me will not soon be forgotten.

As I prepare to take leave of all of you, and as your new administrator, Fr. Bob Heidenreich, prepares to begin his ministry among you, I wish him and all of you continued growth and success as each of you begin this new chapter in the history of St. Edna. You will definitely all be in my prayers and I sincerely ask for yours, too, as I begin this new adventure and journey. These are uncharted waters for me, and for that reason I would suspect there will be many surprises along the way. Your prayers, however, will keep me on course.

After July 1st I can be contacted by email at richyanos1957@gmail.com or by phone at (262) 245-9422. Mail can continue to be sent to me at St. Edna’s address: 2525 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004 as I will be either picking it up or it will be forwarded. Once I settle in to my new assignment next year I will let you all know of my new and permanent address then. In the meantime, I’ll still use my St. Edna address.

I sincerely thank you for our three years together and for all that we were able to accomplish together. A friend once told me to never say goodbye but rather ‘until we meet again’. So I won’t say goodbye, then, but instead…until we met again.

Fr. Rich

Fr. Rich Yanos
Pastor