Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Reverend James William Bessert as he celebrates the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest.
As many do, I know him simply as Father Jim. I am proud to call him a friend and join with so many others in offering our congratulations to Father Jim, a servant of God who has truly dedicated himself to walking the path of Christ.
In his 25 years as a priest, Father Jim has shared the Good News and his gift of music since his first ordained assignment as associate pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Bay City to his present calling as pastor at St. Brigid of Kildare Parish in Midland, Michigan. I am especially privileged as a graduate of St. Brigid School and native son of the parish to acknowledge Father Jim's positive impact on the church and the school communities.
At a time when some parishes and schools face the heart-wrenching challenge of decreased membership and enrollment, St. Brigid is experiencing a rebirth on both accounts. The pews are filled with families and the sanctuary resounds with worshipful song. Since he arrived at St. Brigid in 1999, Father Jim's vision and example have proven a reason for this blessing in downtown Midland. With a shepherd's care, he walks with the flock of St. Brigid in learning and loving the way of Christ.
As the members of the community of believers, we offer our prayers and congratulations to Father Jim on his silver anniversary as a priest and wish him many more years of inspired and inspiring leadership. We pray that the sustaining strength of the Spirit continues to guide him.
On behalf of Michigan's Fourth Congressional District, may God continue to lead Father Jim to do His will.
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