Father Tony Smela | St. Francis, Ann Arbor, MI (last spring); Catholic Community, Flint, MI
Submitted by: Cathryn Torgerson
Fr. Tony took the initiative to hear confessions in the parking lot three times/week. As the lines got longer, he stayed beyond the hours planned if needed to hear all confessions. Whether the weather was cold and wet and miserable in April, or hot and humid and miserable in June, Fr. Tony was there.
His willingness to be uncomfortable for the sake of the flocks, as he found a solution to the problem of no confessions, made an impact on us. He sacrificed his personal comfort and time to meet the needs of the flock. We had more hours of confession during this time of his ministry than we normally have. And people took advantage of it!
I know he did other things, too, but this is the one that stands out to me, in part because of how "visible" it was - lines of cars in the parking lot of a "closed" church along a busy roadway. What a witness to the city in addition to his service to the flock.