Several hundred Our Lady of Malibu parishioners turned up this weekend for a celebration in honor of the retirement of Fr. Bill Kerze.
Kerze, who has served as pastor and spiritual leader of OLM for 22 years, will step down beginning July 1 to begin his retirement.
In his homily on Sunday, Kerze reminded his flock that OLM’s mission statement “welcomes all people to worship God, to grow spiritually in the Catholic faith, and to receive encouragement and direction in shaping the wider world in light of the Gospel.”
“This is not my mission alone,” Kerze said, “This is our mission.”
Kerze’s words earned him a standing ovation—far from the normal practice at a Catholic service and a mark of his appreciation among the congregation.
In an interview with The Malibu Times, Kerze said that, while he’s retiring from his position as pastor, he will become “Pastor Emeritus” for OLM and plans to spend the summer travelling before coming home to Malibu.
“I’m always interested in adult faith development,” Kerze described, later adding he had plans for “retreats, bible study and a real interest in trying to figure out how God is at work in the secular world.”
He may also begin a program leading hikes in and around Malibu, helping participants recognize the “amazing stuff” in the natural world.