July 2, 2023
Get to Know Fr. Bob Stone
I was born in Kansas City and raised in Independence. My family and I went to church at St. Ann's, and I attended St. Ann's grade school, both of which are now closed. I went to St. John’s Seminary for High School (sadly, also closed), and attended college at Conception Seminary in Northwest Missouri, and Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. I was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1990 in Kansas City, which is also the same day that Bishop Johnston was ordained in Knoxville, TN!
In the 33 years I have been a priest I have served at these parishes: Christ the King, Immaculate Conception (Montrose), Holy Trinity (Urich), St. Catherine of Siena, Nativity of Mary, St. Bernadette, and now St. Elizabeth. Every parish that I have been at has had a school. I recently served as the State Chaplain with the Knights of Columbus, and currently, I am a chaplain with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
I have 3 siblings: 2 brothers, and 1 sister. My sister is 18 years younger than me! My mother is 83 years old and lives in Independence. My father died in 2000 of a stroke but also suffered from ALS. I have many nieces and nephews.
Some of my hobbies and things I enjoy:
My Hobbies: Scuba diving, hiking in the mountains, golf, game nights, cards, and other games. I also like traveling and camping.
Likes: Bourbon or whiskey (especially Irish whiskey), anything Cajun (especially gumbo), and pizza. I love the
Chiefs (used to be their chaplain) and Royals (even though it’s hard to be a fan these days!)
Need to know: I am diabetic, so if you want to give me food, try to make it low-carb and low-sugar.
I look forward to meeting and talking with you this weekend after all the Masses!
June 25, 2023
Ten years sounds like a long time, and I guess it is. A decade. But when you enjoy so much of it, one good memory quickly flows into the next and it seems to be a very fast-moving story: celebrations of Christmas and Triduum, school auctions, BBQ’s, the capital campaign, Sunday Masses, lunches with staff, the parish centennial, baptisms, School Masses. The story has been beautiful, dynamic and full of grace, and I guess that’s why ten years feels like too little time. It has gone quickly.
The beauty and goodness of this community have become even clearer as I have prepared to leave you. I have had so many meaningful conversations with people, reflecting on moments of grace that have happened during our time together. I have enjoyed so many meals and events with people, seeing clearly that we are not pastor and parishioner any more, but friends. Your sacrifices, generosity, faith and love have inspired me, encouraged me, assisted me and made me a better priest. Thank you.
It will hurt to leave. It would be wrong for me if it didn’t. I’ve gotten to belong to a parish that really gets it. St. Elizabeth Parish understands what Christian community is. I’ve gotten to work with a gifted, dedicated, tremendous staff who have become my friends. I’ve seen and heard the Gospel in action with so much courage, compassion and love. Leaving all that does hurt. But I also know I am part of the legacy. I am part of the story. It is the goodness of God that has permitted it all. So in the end, I can only be grateful.
June 18, 2023
As we are all in the midst of change these days, I want to share a few more thoughts with you from a talk on transition our rector gave us at Mundelein, shortly before we were ordained. He encouraged us to practice gratitude in the midst of change, as it makes the process of letting go move more smoothly and gracefully. It will be work sometimes to be thankful in the midst of a transition, he said, but it also allows the good we've known to remain in the center of it all. He also told us to be proactive and make time for ourselves to reflect and pray, as transition surfaces so many thoughts, feelings and memories. Try to make time to savor those revelations. Along with that, he encouraged us to share the experience of the journey with others and be thoughtful toward them. In other words, we ought to keep practicing the same spirit of community in the midst of change.
He also listed some don'ts for us in the process, and these have helped me ever since, whether I was moving, turning a year older or entering a new liturgical season. "Don't be surprised at your behavior during a transition." You might struggle with daily life a lot more. Things you normally wouldn't find difficult might become challenging. You might even say, think or do things you normally wouldn't. During a transition, don't be surprised at that, as you're using a lot of energy for the new task of embracing change. "Don't make any big decisions during a transition." Life may feel chaotic and unpleasant in the midst of such days, and it can be tempting to think we need to make a significant change. Resist that temptation and stay the course, remaining faithful to where God has led you and is leading you.
I am so grateful for this wisdom. I hope you find it helpful too. We need all the help we can get in the world today! Thank goodness for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who shepherds us through twists and turns, peaks and valleys of life.
June 11, 2023
Shortly before ordination, my classmates and I were treated to a talk on transition by the rector of the seminary. It was one of those traditions at Mundelein and a gift to every class before they were ordained. The wisdom in the talk was always lauded as deeply insightful and profoundly practical. It lived up to its billing.
I still have my notes from that talk, as it is loaded with wisdom and very helpful direction. I am going to share some of it in my Pastor's Corner over the next couple of weeks as we are all in transition right now: St. Elizabeth is preparing for a new pastor and I am preparing to move.
Transitions come in various forms: geographical relocation, professional change, developmental growth, loss, significant shifts in the world. The experience of change usually causes discomfort, fear and a temptation to lose faith in God and hope for the future. Pain occurs in relation to loss of the past life and risk of what lies ahead. Even so, the suffering of transition is purifying and redemptive. It allows what is most important to surface, along with the arrival of the new, and our response to this struggle is key. We are free to respond or not, to foster or frustrate the growth of redemption.
So you and I have a very challenging decision and choice to make: do I surrender what was and trust what is to come, or do I hold on to what I know and love? We’d all be forgiven for choosing the latter, as it’s the most sensible choice, as well as the most comfortable. But our faith encourages the former: take the risk and believe.
June 4, 2023
I hope your summer is off to a good start! It is my favorite time of the year! I love the warm weather and sunshine, the relaxation of the routine, the movement of life to the great outdoors and the general sense of greater freedom. I think a lot of my love for summer goes back to childhood: being out of school, spending endless days with siblings and neighborhood friends, living on my bicycle, going to the pool, taking vacation with my family and staying up late! Those are great memories.
But as an adult, a priest and a pastor who's about to move, this summer is going to be far different. The arrival of June makes the reality of my upcoming move much more real. At the end of this month, I will move my stuff and my life to a new parish. So much change takes a lot of energy to process. Leaving my life here, leaving my role in this community and my daily relationships with you will be difficult. I've already felt that with the end of the school year, and I know there's much more surrender to come. I'll also say that in the midst of these early goodbyes, there has been an abundance of grace: giving thanks, naming gifts and blessings, celebrating good times and bad times, savoring both the slow and speedy passing of these ten years has been good for me. It's one of the strange graces of goodbyes. We suddenly see everything more clearly, more intensely, more gratefully and more lovingly. I leave here with so much to cherish. My heart will always overflow when I call these years to mind!
The other challenge of moving is actually moving. Packing, planning, loading it all up and making the physical move is always stressful. There's a lot to coordinate in a move like this, and I am so grateful to so many who have already been so helpful. I know it'll get done, but living with the chaos and lists of things to do is never easy. Thank you for your kindness and support in the midst of this transition.
What else would I expect from such a loving parish community?