Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: May 10, 2013
September 7, 2010
Dear Father Rob Ketcham,
Kenny and I, and our kids,
have been blessed to know you and have you in our life. We truly love you and
are forever grateful for getting to know Jesus better because of you. As I have
told you on more than one occasion, Jesus… well, He shines through you. We have
come to know Jesus as a kind, caring, humble, giving, and – most of all – loving
person who loves everyone, no matter who they are, through your example, the
way that you live out each and every day, and through the dedication to doing
the best you can to help people realize that they are special and loved by God.
Life is awesome and amazing – but it sometimes can be very hard – but what God
wants more than anything else is for us to let Him love us.
People can make living life
very hard sometimes, and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. Do
you remember? That’s when you came into my life. After stepping up and taking
on a role as PTA co-president of my children’s elementary school, almost
immediately I experienced how unkind people can purposefully be and the true
pain of criticism.
I started going to daily Mass
for Lent, thinking that this was a hard time I was going through, and getting
closer to God right now was what I needed. I had always trusted people
completely but was not sure who to trust any longer. I had never been in a
place like this before and was more confused than ever, but thank you, Jesus,
Father Rob, you were there for me.
Father Rob, you got me
through it. I clearly remember that day outside the church when I was so sad
and we spoke. You put your hand on my shoulder and lovingly and seriously told
me to pray to Mary, to say the Rosary. You said, “She will lead you to Jesus,
and she will take care of you.” I believed you and trusted you. I can tell you,
I felt Jesus’ presence that day! It was your hand on my shoulder, but it felt
like Jesus’ hand – that’s the only way I can explain it. I knew I was not alone,
and I fell in love with Jesus that day. I started bringing my rosary to every
PTA meeting, and it has been with me ever since. After talking with you about
experiencing the wounds of criticism, I learned to guard my thoughts and my
words. I am a better mother, friend, and wife because of your guidance.
God does things in
mysterious ways. Later that year, Immaculate Conception Seminary was
celebrating their seventy-fifth anniversary. A vagrant showed up at the seminary
as Kenny and I, along with friends and other parishes, gathered there.
He expressed to Kenny that
he felt bad about getting there just as Mass ended. He had ridden a bike,
traveled by bus, and walked a long way to get there. Kenny said he would give
him a ride home. As we were saying our good-byes after a great day, perhaps you
sensed my nervousness about taking this man home and said, “Don’t worry – it’s
Jesus.” Kenny rode in front of me with a friend and the homeless man, as I
followed behind in another car. He directed us back to a college some twenty
Upon arriving, I thought to
myself, I feel bad that I was so nervous about giving him a ride. Well,
the man got out of the car, put up his hood, picked up a folding chair he had
with him, and looked straight at me. He smiled and waved, and then he was gone –
just gone. He was not the short-haired, pock-faced vagrant from the seminary –
he was angelic. His face was beautiful; some pictures of Mary remind me of the
face I saw that day. I know I was blessed, and I know I saw Jesus – I will
never forget it. I found you the next day and telling you about this amazing
Father Rob, you truly
helped me to feel the hope and the love that I know Jesus wants us all to feel.
When I teach religion, I tell the kids to be kind to others, to love one
another because Jesus is right there inside of each one of us. I see that more
clearly than ever. I see all the hope and sadness and happiness and love people
bring to the altar with them, as I am blessed to administer Holy Communion as a
Eucharistic minister. I see that better, Father Rob, after knowing you.
What can I say – thank you
from the bottom of my heart for everything! I am forever grateful to Jesus for
putting you in our life and for blessing you with the ability to let us know
Jesus through your teaching and example. We miss you so much because you were
only here for a short time at St. Bernard’s, but know that we love you and will
be here for you always. We know, though, like Jesus, you need to move around
and teach people that what God wants more than anything is for us to let Him
love us. He wants a relationship with us. Everyday when I wake up, I say, “Hmmm…
I know you love me, God; now where will I see you today?”
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: December 20, 2010
Background story for Peggy’s letter to Fr. James Williams, President of Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY.
In May of 2001, my husband, myself and our three boys could not have anticipated the intensity of the trial our family was about to be confronted with. Without warning, our oldest of three sons(then a Sophomore in high school) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Overnight, life went from your average trials, difficulties and challenges, to being entirely turned on it’s head for each and every one of us.
In the initial weeks, events unfolded in very rapid succession with scant time to process anything emotionally or physically. All kinds of adjustments had to be made at the speed of light. Things got from bad to worse. What started out as a situation with a 96% positive prognosis, escalated into grave critical complications.
Backing up to Day Two of the reality we were confronted with, my husband and I waited and prayed as the doctor and anesthesiologist readied Michael for a spinal tap that would determine the extent of the spread of the cancer. If there was infiltratioin in the spinal column, the prognosis would be far more bleak as this would involve invasion of our son’s brain.
We were permitted to sit and observe. As they prepped for the procedure, I briefly exited to make a call to the President’s office at Chaminade High School to inform the school about the situation. Michael attended an all boys Catholic high school, in Mineola, NY run by the Marianist order of Fathers and Brothers. Read more of this entry…
Letters to Priests, Thanking The Men of the Catholic Church is an interactive book designed to provide support for Catholics
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: September 21, 2010
At the top of this site is a tab that says, to submit a letter.
By Anne Hughes, Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Letters to Priests, Thanking The Men of the Catholic Church is an interactive book designed to provide support for Catholics. The book is a collection of inspiring stories from around the world. The stories highlight the significant role a Catholic Priest played in the lives of Catholics who felt honored and compelled to share their stories with others in hopes of encouraging and promoting Vocations. Contributions of letters are still being accepted.
You may submit a letter to www.letterstopriests.com and will receive an email back from Anne Hughes. Anne and her sister Teena will help you edit your story and encourage you to share details of your struggles so that Catholics and non-Catholics may share in your recovery from grief to joy.
You may read several stories on the website. The letters are testimonials of the often overlooked benefit of providing your children with an opportunity to turn to their faith in every corner of the world. Stories of college students facing surgery alone and scared pick up a phone and call a priest who stays at their bedside, half a world away from their family.
Stories of priests who listen to our pain, and reach into their soul for words to relieve us of guilt, shame, anger, and disappointment in ourselves. These healing words are being shared, often years later, in a testimonial of their strength and healing kindness. Read more of this entry…
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: September 16, 2010
That Saturday morning before Easter everything was humming along as it normally does when we are leaving to go out of town. A flurry of showers, packing and rounding up my 2 ½ year old. I suddenly came to the realization that something was wrong, my water had broken.
Barely 29 weeks pregnant with my second child, my membranes had ruptured and I was soon on my way to the hospital. For days I laid in a bed at St. Mary’s Hospital, hoping to delay my baby’s birth as long as possible. The doctors told me that every day I could put off delivering was crucial to my baby’s development.
Cole James was born 10 days later, 3lbs 9 oz and 30 weeks old. We were allowed to hold Cole for 30 brief seconds before he was taken from our arms and whisked away to the NICU for evaluation. Two hours later when we saw him he was on a ventilator and we were unable to hold him, being told that even touching him could cause him distress and make his breathing more difficult. It was hard to believe he was the baby I had carried for so many months. He seemed so distant on the Plexiglas “bed” hooked up to so many monitors and IVs they were difficult to count. My husband and I decided to have Cole baptized as soon as possible, a way to bring some hope and faith to this little being who was out of necessity being denied so many things that could comfort him and make him more a part of our world.
The NICU can be a very lonely place, even though you are surrounded by doctors and nurses offering their help and care. I was often seated a few feet away from another mother, also grieving over the difficult way her child had come into the world. No words would pass between us, they would be too painful to speak. I noticed that parents of the other babies would avoid eye contact, the idea of social niceties seeming frivolous under such dire circumstances. Often, parents were wondering whether their babies were going to make it, whether they would ever be able to hold them. My husband and I were blessed to know within a few hours of Cole’s birth that he would survive and probably thrive, eventually. Many parents in the NICU were not as lucky as we were.
My son’s baptism was one of the few pleasant memories that I have of the first six weeks of his life. The priest who performed the baptism, Father Ayub, was a kind and gentle man who stood with us at Cole’s bedside and baptized him that day, when he was 36 hours old. Read more of this entry…
Father Roderick Vonhogen blesses Anne Melissa Hughes, Letters To Priests, Thanking The Men of The Catholic Church, project.
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: August 20, 2010
Father Roderick Vonhogen, is the founder of EQPN broadcasting. He blesses Anne Melissa Hughes, Letters To Priests, Thanking The Men of The Catholic Church, project. Father Roderick had interviewed Anne earlier in the day at the Catholic Writers Guild.
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: August 10, 2010
This book cover was designed by Lukasz Wieczorek. Everyone seemed to love it at The Catholic Writers Guild.
Join us by sharing your story of how a priest guided you to joy. How has a Catholic Priest supported your family in a time of need?
Submit your letter, we want everyday stories to share in hopes of healing others.
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: August 9, 2010
Finding out we were expecting twins was the greatest joy imaginable, going into labor at just 23 weeks gestation was beyond devastating. Without warning and any expectation, I felt something wrong. My doctor thought I was reading too much into things and told me to relax. His nurse suggested just going in to the hospital to be sure. I did. When I arrived at the hospital, it was a whirlwind for the next few hours. I was immediately given drugs to stop the contractions and slow the labor. This was only able to hold me over for 15 hours. I called my church first thing in the morning.
Our Lady of Grace in Edina, Minnesota was proactive and sent their Priest right over. His name is Father Beaudet. Read more of this entry…
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: August 7, 2010
Our new associate pastor, Fr. David Sizemore, had only been at our parish for a few months. My childhood best friend, Rita, was dying of cancer and in the James Clinic. It was a week before Christmas and we all know how busy our priests are during that time of year. I tried to go to see her at least 3 times per week and more when able.
One day I stayed after Mass and was praying for Rita. Read more of this entry…
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: July 18, 2010
I come from a family that is in constant turmoil. My father died when I was ten and my mother and step-father were both abusive and struggled with addiction. I am the oldest of five and was raised by my grandparents. At 22 I am married with no kids at the moment, however, my husband and I help raise my siblings.
There are many times I feel as though I fall short of who God is calling me to be. I constantly question Read more of this entry…
Posted by letterstopriests | Filed under Uncategorized Posted on: July 16, 2010
When I began my Catholic publishing company a few years ago one of the first books I published was Joseph’s Hands. It is the beautifully written and illustrated story about a young boy who looks at all the gifts that his older brothers have and wonders about his own talents—not apparent to him in his day-to-day living when compared to the skills his siblings. But as Joseph grows up he sees that God has called him to the priesthood and so responds to his vocation. Recently, Joseph’s Hands received Apostolic Blessings from Pope Benedict XVI. Read more of this entry…