St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

Saying Goodbye to Father Larry

Posted on January 23, 2018 at 9:45 AM

In 2004, our current pastor, Fr. Larry King was assigned to St. Patrick Parish. Since that time, he has served as the canonical administrator for St. Patrick Catholic School. This essentially means that one of his main roles as pastor is to support and encourage the programs and activities of the school, as an integral piece of the parish’s ministry. On Wednesday, Jan. 31 we say goodbye to our beloved pastor as he enters retirement. But even in retirement he’ll be busy as he fills in for priests on vacation or helps out at other parishes.

Fr. Larry has always been there supporting our school and students in many ways including:

• Presiding at and conferring most of the sacraments for our students. The majority of our students were baptized by Fr. Larry and received their first holy Communion from him. They most likely attended reconciliation with Fr. Larry for the first time and have received this sacrament from him at least once a year beginning in the 2nd grade.

• He and his puppet Elmo always visited classrooms to welcome students back at the beginning of each school year.

• He has presided at hundreds of school Masses delivering a different message each week. Many of his homilies were unforgettable for our students including his touching stories, unique props such as flashlights and windshield wiper glasses. There were also his unique messages such as “unclean,” “namaste,” and “dare to be a follower of Christ.”

• His puppets Elmo, Sophie and Gator were a staple at school Mass when an elementary class was leading Mass that week. We even had the opportunity to meet his new puppet Eagle Eye at a recent school Mass.

• He is an active supporter of the school. He has been adamant about being present at each school board meeting and providing feedback and direction for the school and its programs.

• He is excited to attend school events such as our annual National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony, Christmas program, and is often seen on the sideline at home football games or in the stands at other games.

• He is also a big supporter of our school play and local theatre. He attended most performances staged by the Portland Civic Players and other area theatre groups.

Fr. Larry is perhaps most known by the students for his message to keep their “candle lit for Christ” since they are the light of the world. If you’ve ever seen Fr. Larry walk through the playground at recess or through the school, you will see the elementary students (and sometimes secondary students) all putting their thumbs up and their hand on their head indicating their candle is lit for Christ. You will also see him laughing and talking with the students as they gather around him whenever he visits the school.

Now, it is time to say goodbye to Fr. Larry as he moves into a new chapter of his life. On behalf of the students and staff of St. Patrick School we say thank you for your years of service to St. Patrick School. We also say goodbye and we wish you the best in your retirement. May God continue to bless you and keep you!


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