Leadership is a big deal.
Chairpersons, directors, presidents and managers are not necessarily strong leaders. In the church, pastors are not necessarily strong leaders.
Many of us can think back to working with good or great leaders and conversely, working with those whose talents did not include the gift of strong leadership.
My Catholic path, serving in parishes in four dioceses, was no different. I had the opportunity and the fortune to work with many pastors starting as an altar server in the second grade.
It took 50 years, but in 2014, the pastor of my dreams entered my life. In July of that year, Father Jim Vrba was assigned pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Bettendorf. Father Jim is an awesome liturgist and the epitome of a great leader! It is hard to enumerate all that has been accomplished at St. John Vianney in these seven short years.
In any of the characterizations you can find on leadership, you will have found Father Jim Vrba. His ability to pull people together to work toward a common goal is second to none. Once a project is decided upon, Father Jim gets behind it, made evident by his cheerleading skills! Like all pastors, Father Jim presides at liturgy, leads finance meetings, visits the sick, attends ice cream socials, on and on. Father Jim does all this with a smile on his face, displaying his positive attitude, leading by example. Even on a trip to our sister parish in Haiti, under a hot sun, Father Jim was smiling … and leading!
We all wish Father Jim a long and healthy retirement. We have all benefitted from his leadership!