My Dear Friends,
I would like to send a belated message of Christ’s birth. May His Spirit remain with you throughout the New Year. As we consider the turmoil that exists within our country and in our church today, let us remember that we need to pull together as people of God. In the name and teaching of Jesus Christ we will bond together. So much of the turmoil that we are facing is because we have lost focus of what we are all about as Christians. At this time, I think it’s important we realize that we have to move beyond Democrat and Republican gridlock and pull together as followers, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. What scares me the most at this time is how the political turmoil in our country is having such a damaging effect on our unity as Christians, and for us also as Catholics.
Due to a dramatic drop in personnel, our beautiful historical property here in Bordentown, known as the Divine Word Residence, has been sold to the state of New Jersey. The Divine Word Missionaries received 4 million dollars for the property. The property is worth two to three times more than that. However, we had felt for years that this beautiful, historical property of Joseph Bonaparte should be put in the hands of the state and its Historical Society. It should be available to the people of New Jersey and not vandalized by various real estate ventures.
As my wonderful nieces, Maria and Angie, drove me from my home of sixty years, I realized, with a few tears in my eyes, that this wonderful property would no longer belong to our Divine Word Missionaries. Above all was the sadness I felt personally.
My family, of which I have many nieces and nephews, wanted me in the Ohio area for Christmas and the month of January to spend some time together. I must admit that over the years, much to do with my addiction to the people of God, I sometimes feel that I short-changed them by not spending time there. I was never at home with my family during the Christmas holidays. These past weeks have been a wonderful opportunity for deepening my relationship with them. By the way, I even brought some luck for the Cleveland Browns while I was there because they got into the playoffs!!
By the end of January or early February I will be back in Bordentown living at The Clare Estate, which is an independent living facility. Jim Lynch, former mayor of Bordentown, has provided two rooms for me to continue my counseling ministry at the former Divine Word property. What a generous gift he provided me as a token of appreciation for the work and counseling I performed for the people of Bordentown and the local area over the years. The Provincial of the Divine Word and his counsel, after a very long deliberation, granted me one more year in Bordentown. But then I am required to move to The Retirement Center of The Divine Word Missionaries in Techny, Illinois, which is north of Chicago. (January 1, 2022) You have no idea the madness attaining this extra year required, considering I needed to leave my home of sixty years and make new living arrangements.
I know one of the major reasons the Provincial and his counsel were moved to grant me another year was due to the countless letters of support that were sent from the parishioners of St. Catharine-St. Margaret parish and other friends. My gratitude to all of you is so extensive that I hardly know how to put my appreciation into words. The two women to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude are Laura Frasco and her daughter, Jessica, who motivated so many people on my behalf. It was an avalanche of letters that struck the Divine Word leaders. Much more could be said about this whole ordeal, but I’d have to sit down with you for hours over a few bottles of wine.
Another memorable bonus is the beautiful booklet that Jessica created with artwork, photos and copies of letters people sent to the Provincial on my behalf. I am so appreciative of the time and effort that was put into this. What a special gift.
So, let me terminate what could be a much longer letter and thank all the many people who wrote to the Divine Word leaders as well as those who sent me Christmas cards and gifts. I cannot thank you enough for your tremendous support during these difficult past months. I am looking forward to my return to Bordentown for counseling and pastoral work and my return to the people of God in Spring Lake.
Gratefully, with my prayers and masses, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support.
With Love & Appreciation, Fr. Martin Padovani, SVD, MS