Don and Pat Wales, long-time parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marblehead, greet retiring pastor Fr. Dan Ring at the reception following his last Mass as pastor Sunday morning. Photo by John Schaffner
Fr. Dan Ring, who has served a total of 46 years with the Diocese of Toledo, is retiring. Fr. Ring has served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Marblehead for 7 years. The following is a statement he gave to his parish on his leaving:
A few years ago the Diocese of Toledo invented a euphemism for retirement for priests: Senior Status. Although I am retiring from pastoring a parish, I am still an active priest, serving when and where I am called upon. Our new pastor is here, Fr. Dan Borgelt, to be with you this coming week, has welcomed me back for several liturgies in the next couple months.
Being pastor of a parish has been a highly fulfilling responsibility. I’ve always felt that the Lord allowed me to use my personal gifts to provide leadership and spiritual service to these three communities (Oregon, Fostoria and Marblehead). I have always been “reasonably happy”, a phrase my friends kid me about since I am seldom, if ever, exuberant.
That sense of peace is centered on serving Christ in the Eucharist and the fact that our shared faith has led families to allow me to accompany them through the years. It is a joy to know sometimes five generations of one family. A new birth, marriage, moving, graduating, getting well, losing a job; all these moments are often shared with the pastor, me. The longer I stayed in one parish with families, the more satisfying I have found my being a Catholic priest. And, of course, though not mentioned in the events above: death. What comfort our faith in the Christ of Eucharist is to all of us through the losses we experience, especially death.
St. Wendelin made me at home for 18 years. I could write my book about those times; still family and Eucharist would center my story.
St. Joseph Parish has been a joy. Such varied and happy assemblies at Mass through the seasons of the year! Willing helpers and strong sub-communities have been an encouragement to me. Our ministries have been energetic and helpful to others. It have been a great seven years. I’m not sure why I’m retiring, except that I turn 73 in a few days and I am grateful we will have a pastor and are not combining with another parish at this time.
Eucharist means thanks. A huge thank you for all your love and friendship.
Fr. Dan Ring