Round and round

By Matt Potter

Radical Joy

Catholic Stewardship and Abundance

“All my life’s a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the nighttime
Till the daybreak comes around
And all my life’s a circle, but I can’t tell you why
Seasons spinning ‘round again
The years keep rolling by.” 

– “Circle,” by Harry Chapin ©1972 

Those words, the chorus of the song “Circle,” were written by Harry Chapin more than 50 years ago. I have heard the song covered by Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Harry’s brother Tom.

This is not the first of these columns to reference an old song, but I can tell you now it will be the last. Because as seasons spin and years roll, we adjust and change accordingly – and I am retiring July 1.

Even as I write that last phrase I find it hard to believe. I have been working since I was 15 years old, and I will be 65 in a few months. A half-century has passed to bring me where I am today.

Planning for retirement has always been an abstract exercise because I never really had a goal as to when that would happen. I trusted that the Lord would let me know when the time was right. Without going into details, He let me know. Now is the time.

This doesn’t mean that I am going to ride off into the sunset, singing “Happy Trails to You.” Nor does it mean that I will be playing endless rounds of golf or sitting in a rocking chair on the porch. While I do have some plans for the near term, the long term remains a mystery to me, unfolding as God wishes it to unfold.

Just because I don’t have to make my commute every day doesn’t mean my work is done. The work, my friends, is never done.

From the beginning of my time in Evansville, in all the columns I have written, the letters I have sent, the material I have published in various forms, and in the talks I have given, my message has been consistent:

Stewardship is not a program. It is a way of life.

Stewardship is not about money. Or time. Or talent. Stewardship is not defined by a task to be completed or a check to be written. If only it were that easy. 

Instead, stewardship means giving our entire beings, body and soul, all that we have, to God. That requires great effort because there are powerful forces in the world that don’t want that to happen and will fight us every step of the way.

I have to be vigilant, to continue leading a life that seeks complete surrender to God, even though – or because – I am far, far from that mark. I must keep praying to the Holy Spirit to guide me in my journey, to learn how to work in a way that I have never worked before. That is what I will do when I retire – work!

Before I sign off for the last time, I want to acknowledge and thank those who have walked my spiritual journey with me.

I have had the extraordinary blessing to work directly with and for four incredible bishops. Bishop Joseph Siegel, Bishop David Ricken, Archbishop Paul Etienne, and Bishop Stephen Biegler. I have learned so much from each of these men and I am extraordinarily grateful to each of them for their faith and confidence in me. 

I am grateful to the clergy, diocesan staffs, and all the good people I have worked with here and in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who have helped to open my heart and my eyes to the beauty of serving the people of God.

I am gratefuls to Sherry, my wife, for supporting me in this ministry and showing me what love truly means. 

But in all things, I am profoundly grateful to God for his countless blessings and infinite mercy. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and Holy Spirit! Amen.



PS: If you would be interested, I have a blog called “Messages and Images, a Disciple’s Journey,” to which I post occasionally. It can be found at

Finally, let me share with you the first verse from “Circle” because I believe with all my heart that we will, indeed, all get together again.

“Well, it seems like I’ve been here before
And I can’t remember when
But I’ve got this funny feeling
That we’ll all get together again.
Now no straight lines make up my life
All these roads have bends.
There’s no clear cut beginnings
And so far no dead ends.”

– “Circle,” by Harry Chapin ©1972