(gratitude for this sharing of my wonderful friend, 

SHARON MUSSOMELI, Sept 10, 1957 – Sept 18, 2022)


Before I became Catholic, the only two priests I knew were my husband’s two maternal uncles: Msgr Salvatore Adamo and Fr Joseph Adamo. They were jovial, fun loving guys with a passionate devotion to our Lord and serving His people–I admired their loving service, but did not understand their charism.

When I met you, the retreat leader for the vestry of my Episcopal Church, I found myself profoundly moved–to tears, in fact–by your teaching on the Holy Spirit. You kindly agreed to help me pray, and then left me in quiet, where my prayer let me to open to the Holy Spirit and to a profound conversion. I felt “reborn,” as an evangelical would say, and I did not want to lose this precious gift–but also did not know where to go–spiritually (or physically!) to remain in this great grace. You recommended books to read–just the right ones–and arranged for me to meet for the first time with my Jesuit spiritual director, Fr Tom Green, who, like you, became a great family friend and mentor.

You also introduced my family and me to your parishioners at St Ignatius–we had such a wonderful time entertaining various youth groups from your parish at our house. I never knew kids could eat so much!!! Although we were in a foreign country, it felt just like home. Your support was essential to the discovery of that precious treasure that I never wanted to lose.

As I continued in my journey of spiritual growth and discovery, I met other dedicated, selfless priests through your assistance: Msgr Tony “Derps” Unson, who helped prepare me for my reception in the Church, and Fr Rocco Viviano, SX, who became a close family friend. Msgr Unson imparted a deep love for the Catholic faith, and Fr Rocco provided invaluable support for my growth in faith and in the process of adopting our precious youngest child. At Fr Rocco’s seminary, I met many young men who are now priests. I am still in touch with two: one Filipino and one Indonesian, who are with the Xaverian mission Sierra Leone.

Later, in Cambodia, I had many friends who were priests (and future priests): Fr Ashley Evans, SJ, who assisted me for a year or so as my spiritual director, Frs Taejin Kim SJ, Fr Gabriel, Br Matthew SJ and my Maryknoll friends: Fr Jim Noonan MM, Fr Ed McGovern MM, Fr Bob Wynne MM, and diocesan associate priests Fr Charlie Dittmeier and Fr Kevin Conroy. All of these dedicated priests are offering their whole lives to live the Gospel: to be the hands and heart of Jesus to the poor and the terminally ill (from AIDS), to the orphans and the widows. You and all of these dedicated men inspire me, teach me and encourage me through their example of selfless service to the poorest of the poor (most of them materially poor, but some rich in money but spiritually poor).

Thank you–you set me on the path to discovery of unbelievable and eternal richness.

(written Sept. 2009)