June 17, 2012
Fr. Gilbert Exumé
Our friend is leaving. This is probably the most difficult duty that a diocesan priest encounters in a lifetime of service… leaving a parish family that has become his family… leaving a home that has become his home. Fr. Gilbert Exumé is leaving the parish family of Saint Brigid, and will begin again with a new parish community, hoping that it too will become his family, hoping to bring all he has been given to a new portion of the Lord’s flock…. to be a brother… to serve in the Lord’s priestly love.
Our friend is leaving. This weekend is his last weekend with us. He will celebrate most of the Masses this weekend; and we will gather in Corbett Hall after Sunday’s 10:45 AM liturgy to offer him all the love of our hearts. I hope that Corbett Hall is filled to the brim with grateful parishioners.
Our friend is leaving, but what a ride he’s enjoyed. He’s been with us in good times. He has celebrated with all… from the youngest in our Day School through the children in our PSR programs. He has given himself as a good and joyful shepherd to our teens and our families and our seniors. But, he has also assisted us in those difficult times, especially that period of time when Msgr. Reynolds was too ill to come to the office.
Fr. Exumé lived with Msgr. Reynolds during those last months and did all he could to make him comfortable.
Our friend is leaving. Think for a moment about all that the Lord asked of him, that allowed him to become part of Saint Brigid. The young Gilbert said yes to the Lord, as a child, as a teen. The young man said yes to the Lord, when he heard the invitation of grace, to leave his beloved Haiti and journey north, to Atlanta. If you have never struggled to learn a new language….if you have never had to deal with the vagaries of a new culture…then you can’t know what our Fr. Exumé has given, in his yes to service in our Archdiocese. As a young man, he worked to learn the English language and the mixture of cultures that go to make up the “soup” of metro-Atlanta. He did all this, with a joyful heart, a trusting heart.
Our friend is leaving…the parish. But, he remains a friend. We will miss him. I will miss him, especially his laughter. You are loved good brother. You are loved.