Suffice it to say my wife and I are speechless this Easter Sunday. We cannot focus on the Mass underway because we cannot comprehend that Father Michael Kelly is not at the altar in his parish in Lockeford. Multitudes like ourselves have personal stories to tell of how this great Irish priest enriched our lives and our faith.
As I have reported previously, Mike became part of us the moment he was ordained and was assigned to our Lady of Fatima in Modesto. My wife was on the faculty of the school at the same time Mike brought soccer to the playground during recess. As if by magic, soccer became a citywide sport for the first time.
Pardon me if I ramble, but how could such a whirlwind ministry be brought to such a catastrophic end, seemingly without justification? I am not without extensive knowledge of what has happened in the Catholic Church here and throughout the world — particularly in Ireland. I'm not without appreciation for the likelihood that clerical mismanagement might complicate Father Mike's case.
While tracking this story in Stockton from central Pennsylvania, I have never for one moment doubted that Father Mike would be exonerated once the facts were examined. Fair or not, I was wrong and I am left with persevering in my prayers for this wonderful man.