Praised be Jesus Christ! With joy in my heart, I am so very grateful to be your new pastor. Shrine has always had a very special place in my heart – and I can honestly say that it has been a dream of mine for some time to be able to love and serve you as your pastor. I can’t believe these days have finally arrived. Since it was announced six months ago that I would have the privilege of succeeding Bishop Bob Fisher, the parish family at Shrine has been so very warm and welcoming.

I want to thank in particular my friend Bishop Fisher for his warm and gracious assistance. Many years ago during my seminary days, Bishop Fisher was my vocation director. The kindness and consideration he has shown me over the years has been manifested once again in these recent months. His love for Shrine is palpable and he has provided marvelous leadership following the death of our beloved former pastor Msgr. Bill Easton. Thank you so very much, Bishop Fisher, for your fine, caring, loving, steady service over these past years.

Over the coming months and years, we will of course get to know each other better and better. I’ll share a bit more about my background in upcoming columns, but here are a few quick facts: I am the youngest of four children (two brothers, one sister) born to Jim and Ann McClory. Royal Oak has been my hometown since I was six years old. We moved near downtown Royal Oak and I attended St. Mary Grade School and Dondero High School. St. Therese has always been the patroness of our family. My mother Ann, who died last October, said that one of the reasons they chose Royal Oak was its proximity to the Shrine. My father Jim, 93 years young, still lives at my childhood home in Royal Oak, about a mile away from Shrine. The faith of my parents has been so extraordinary and I am so grateful that they showed me how to love Jesus and His Church, and pray to the Holy Spirit. For several years they would regularly attend daily Mass at Shrine. They and I have made many friends a Shrine over the years.

Our Shrine Basilica Parish has been a thriving parish since its founding. As we look to the future, the success of our past gives us confidence that Jesus has even more on the horizon for our parish. I am particularly blessed to be joining the parish in the midst of a strategic planning process and so soon after the unveiling of the parish mission statement: “In the spirit of St. Therese, the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica exists to bring everyone in our community to an encounter with Christ, to grow in His love, and to go forth sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all.”

These are beautiful words and I look forward to helping them become more and more of a reality for our parish. I look forward to learning from you, loving you, and serving you in the years ahead. My goal is to help bring you and your families to know the love of Jesus more deeply. That’s the best gift I can give. In the words of Father Solanus Casey, let’s “thank God ahead of time” for the amazing things he will do for and with us in the years ahead.

In Jesus,

Msgr. Bob McClory