A Change of Assignment is Coming in January!

Pastoral-Transition-SQUARE-1-450x450At the Masses last weekend, I announced that Bishop Perez has appointment me the next Pastor of Saint Mary Parish in Hudson. This new assignment will become effective on January 6, 2020. Allow me to explain how this all came about – especially for those who were not with us for Mass last weekend and those who stay in touch with our Saint John Bosco Community through our website or Facebook page.

The Tuesday after Labor Day I received a call from the Personnel Board asking if I would be open to a change of assignment. I was shocked. That was not something that I had expected or imaged. We just wrapped up our International Festival and the activities of parish life were moving into full swing. Yet, having served in that position for almost nine years, I understood that phone call because I had made many of them myself.

For me, and perhaps for Saint John Bosco, the timing is all wrong. My sister and I moved my mom to local nursing home where she has settled in and is very comfortable. As a parish community, we just welcomed Deacon Matt Harley, initiated our Committed to Christ – Living in Gratitude Program and are anticipating a Ministry Fair in November. We’ve worked through one Pastoral Plan which has brought a renewed vitality to parish life and ministry – and on Labor Day weekend we introduced another one that will lead us through the next five years. Life is moving along fairly well and just as I had planned and anticipated.

I also know that I was ordained for service to the entire Church of Cleveland and not just one parish community or assignment. I’ve been here 9 years – and can say that I have loved every day Saint John Bosco. But, I firmly believe that if the life and ministries of our parish community are genuine – which I hope and pray they are, their continuation should not be, and must not be, dependent on me and my continued presence. So, I promised that I would take that conversation to prayer.

The next morning, as I have done every morning for over 30 years, I prayed Blessed Charles de Foucauld’s “Prayer of Abandonment.” Here is that prayer. Allow the words of the prayer to sink in as you pray them slowly and deliberately. “Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.”

As I finished praying that prayer, I asked myself, “How could I continue praying it every morning with any integrity if my response to this invitation is, ‘No, I’m not open to a new assignment, the timing is just not right?’” That would go against every fiber of my being – and all that I hope you and I believe about being “Called to holiness and sent to serve!” So, after a week of prayer, and conversations with a few individuals whose wisdom I value, I came to the realization that there was no other response for me to give than, “Yes! I’m open to this new assignment. This must be of God’s will.” After I shared that decision with the Personnel Board, they quickly finalized my new appointment and I was meeting with Bishop Perez.

I am at peace with this change in my life – in our lives. Do I have mixed emotions? I’d be a liar if I didn’t say, “Yes.” But I am at peace. My prayer is that all of you will come to that same peace. That’s probably too much to ask of you right now. After all, it took me three weeks to come to that peace.

So I ask you, please continue to pray for me, as I will for you, in the months that we have together. Good things are happening here at Saint John Bosco every day because the love of God is with us and together we are reaching out to extend that love to others. Good things will continue to happen at Saint John Bosco, because of that love and the faith that is in your lives as brothers and sisters who form this great community of believers. The vibrancy of our parish’s life and ministry depends on how we accompany one another and not simply the presence of one person.

The Personnel Board has begun the process that will lead to the appointment of my successor. We have given them the information they requested about Saint John Bosco Parish which will enable them to provide the priests of our diocese with an overview of the life and ministry of our parish. They had told us that they will be sending us information about how parishioners can participate in an online survey to express your preferences for the qualities of a new pastor. I’ll be providing you with more information about this process as it becomes available.

Finally, I encourage you to intentionally pray that the Holy Spirit will guide Bishop Perez, and those assisting him, in determining who will become the next pastor of Saint John Bosco.

October 8th, 2019 |