I just wanted to take a moment out to acknowledge the retirement of Fr. Francis Pouliot of Visitation Church in Minneapolis. Fr. Pouliot was at Visitation for 22 years; he was a priest, I believe, for around 50 years.
Fr. Pouliot was the priest who brought me into the Church. I took my instruction from him, was confirmed by him, made my first confession to him, had my marriage blessed by him, and made my first communion with him. Those four sacraments were all performed in the same day - I can still remember how excited he was. It isn't every day that a priest gets to perform four sacraments on someone at once!
Fr. Pouliot was the ideal of a Catholic priest. Kind, gentle, hard working, and a man of quiet, but great, faith - he always put the needs of his parishioners ahead of his own. While I was serving on the Finance Committee at Visitation, the decision was made to renovate the rectory. We had a dickens of a time getting him to agree to it - he always thought the money could be better spent somewhere else! Of course, he was also a pack rat - I'm not sure he ever actually threw anything away, and I think one of the things that scared him most about having the rectory renovated was the idea that someone might get rid of something that he might possibly have a use for sometime! Now, having been something of a pack rat myself, I can understand that completely - and I don't doubt that he did wind up using most everything he kept.
I have a great admiration and affection for Fr. Pouliot. He wasn't perfect; only a trait he shared with everyone else in the Church. And he'll never quit being a priest; as he mentions, he's looking forward to continuing to serve by filling in at various parishes when needed.
I hope our paths cross again in the future; I don't doubt that, even in retirement, he'll continue to perform a great service for the Church. To paraphrase his favorite saying, "Well begun, Father, half done!" And many, many more years!