Back in 2018, St. Valentine’s Day coincided with Ash Wednesday. In his homily at Ash Wednesday Mass, Father Jim Hurlbert, pastor of Ascension Church, connected the two occasions by speaking about the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to give us some new insight about faith as we started our Lenten journey. He suggested printing out an image of the Sacred Heart and putting it someplace where we could view it regularly. I printed out one for my bedroom and one for my desk at work, and to this day they remain in those places.

That sacred heart image was one of a few examples I can recall of thoughtful insights Father Hurlbert shared in his homilies during his time as Ascension’s pastor.

Another fond memory I have of him was a year ago: After my Religious Education eighth-graders were confirmed, he stopped by our Tuesday evening class to follow up with the students. He engaged them in a great conversation about what they experienced at Confirmation. It was an instance of how he offered such a wonderful pastoral touch.

Memories like those make me grateful for Father Hurlbert’s ministry at Ascension Parish. Thank you, Father Hurlbert, and, as we say at the conclusion of Mass, thanks be to God.

Paul Rubio

Oak Park

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