By John Rieping | All rights reserved | Published 29 June 2013 in The Madera Tribune
This past week has taught me two important lessons. First, blending a can of sweet corn into a fruit smoothie one is making may not be as clever an idea as it seems. Secondly, it is possible to salvage such a smoothie by heavily diluting it with milk and bananas.
I suppose such hard-won insights may seem laughable to many, but I am a reluctant bachelor with primitive but creative cooking skill. Trial and error is my harsh mistress.
If further illustration is needed, know that the first time I made chorizo I didn't realize I was expected to remove the plastic casing before eating it -- not even after I ate it. It was only after the second time I cooked the spicy Mexican pork sausage that I accidentally discovered how much better it tasted sans plastic.
One might say I am an impressive cook, in a sense.
My extended family surely realizes this indirectly. Every time I sup with parents or siblings I probably resemble an unusually unrestrained Muslim at nightfall during the fasting month of Ramadan or someone celebrating the end of a hunger strike. Thankfully my kin tolerate the hearty appetite of this easily satisfied "connoisseur" of pleasantly edible foods.
May God be praised for the undeserved gift of a loving family.
Priest transfers planned
My spiritual family is undergoing changes now and in the future. Native Maderan John Shearer, a member of the Oblates of Saint Joseph (OSJ), graduated from St. John's (Catholic) Seminary in May and was ordained a priest at St. Joachim Church on Friday evening. He will be celebrating his first Masses as a priest this weekend in Madera, California. He will not long remain in his hometown however.
I had the providential opportunity to speak with visiting priest Rev. John Warburton, OSJ, on Thursday afternoon, and he was kind enough to fill me in on other developments for his congregation of priests and brothers and their ministry. These stem from a major change for the Oblates of Saint Joseph this spring.
On March 14, the congregation's Our Lady of Sorrows province in Pennsylvania and Saint Joseph Guardian of the Redeemer province in California became unified as one Holy Spouses USA province. Due to personnel shortages in both provinces, the challenge faced by new leadership was to "consolidate for the sake of renewal and growth," Warburton said.
"Its our policy to move personnel regularly, approximately every six years... shaped by circumstance," he explained. But "this was the time to make a major shuffle."
Consequently, local pastor Rev. Carlos Esquivel of Madera and the newly minted Rev. Shearer will be assigned to Pittston, Pa. Warburton, a former OSJ provincial and previously associate pastor in Madera in the 1980s, will return as pastor. Joining him will be Rev. Shaji Athipozhi. Rev. Gustavo Lopez of Hollywood will remain stationed in Madera.
Rev. Sergio Perez will be reassigned from Madera to Mount Saint Joseph in Loomis, near Sacramento. Perez will direct the Marello Youth Center and serve as vocational director for the West. Shearer will minister as vocational director for the East.
In Madera, these changes will begin August 18 with priestly transfers in and out.
In the autumn, Rev. James Catalano, a former pastor of St. Joachim Church, will return to his former parish as a semi-retired priest. Catalano celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest and 60th as an OSJ member on March 19.
The 'new' pastor
For those unfamiliar with Warburton, the incoming pastor of St. Joachim Church is a familiar face for many local Catholics middle-aged and older. As a precocious child, I published an interview with him in September 1984, not long after his first arrival in Madera, in my monthly typewritten and mimeographed three to four page "newspaper" -- the Kid's Chronicle. Below are excerpts.
Q: What's your full name?
A: My full name is John Collister Warburton. John means "Yahweh is gracious" or "God's gift." Collister is my maternal grandfather's last name... Warburton is my paternal grandfather's last name. Both Warburton and Collister are very English names.
Q: What were your first impressions upon arriving?
A: I can describe my first impressions of Madera in two words -- friendly and welcoming.
Q: Where were you schooled to be a priest?
A: I went to Santa Clara University for two years and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. I majored in theology for four years at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley.
Q: Is it hard work to be a priest?
A: Only when I forget that the Lord is with me.