Since becoming serious with my Faith over four years ago, I have never faced a day such as this. One of losing a Shepherd. As you might well know, Raymond L. Burke will no longer be (effective immediately June 27, 2008) the Archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese and will become the Prefect for The Apostolic Signatura at the request of Pope Benedict XVI, effective immediately.
So many have had different opinions of Archbishop Burke, and after hearing him speak in person, for the very first time in 2006, I approached him and immediately apologized for my previous thoughts of him. He is such a wonderful and strong man of God. A deep man of Faith, steeped in his commitment to our Church and the People of God. With this great man of God, there is no middle area, no gray area; it is Black and White, Right or Wrong. He is not concerned with Dem or Rep, Left or Right, he is committed to ministering to people about Up or Down, North or South – Heaven or Hell, and his prayer is for all to return from whence we came.
My feelings are mixed as I first heard the news, my heart was torn. It was as if someone stabbed me in the chest with a knife as I found out the man I love, our beloved Shepherd is leaving us, but we pray that “God’s Will be done, despite our own will.” God knows what is best for us as He and ONLY He knows what the future holds for this Archdiocese and for His Church here on earth as well, so be it God’s Will, through the guidance of the Vicar of Christ on earth, that this change take place. The loss for St. Louis, Missouri will be the great gain of the Catholic Church as a whole.
As we approach his upcoming birthday, Big Papa, as my wife and I affectionately refer to His Excellency Burke, we love you with all of our heart and will miss you so very much. We will continue to keep you in our daily prayers and we also pray that God will continue to work through you for the greater good of His Church. Don’t forget…Cardinal is coming to you soon, and we pray that God will bless us to be able to be in Rome for that GREAT DAY! Happy early birthday Big Papa and we will always love you and never forget… KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON!
Peace 2 U!
Catholic Evangelist Richard Lane (Donna)