Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
As I announced last Sunday at Sacred Heart during Mass, Gina, the parish secretary at Sacred Heart, decided to pursue other opportunities and leave Sacred Heart. I publicly thank her for her few months of service to the parish and wish her well moving forward.
What has become somewhat obvious to me is that the situation without a full time priest is difficult on parish staff. As a pastor, while caring for the temporal goods of the Church (e.g. paying bills, repairs, etc.) is a very important part of my position, it isn’t the only function that I fulfill. In addition to governance, there is sanctifying and teaching. The three fold office entrusted to those ordained priests and bishops. There are also the positions we hold in the Oratory, with perhaps the most important being the formation of our future priests, your future priests.
Everyone has been very patient and understanding. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as we ordain new priests and they begin to share in the work of caring for all the places we carry out priestly ministry. I thank everyone for this patience, even as I recognize that change can be challenging and difficult.
We do and should, however, always be grateful. I am personally grateful to be in these two parishes, a hospital, and the county jail who are understanding and supportive. I could not imagine nor desire to do anything except what it is that I am doing. I am grateful for every supporter of the Oratory and each parishioner that we have. We have two great parishes with dedicated and faithful parishioners. They are both beautiful, financially sound, and growing more and more vibrant. I thank you for that.
Looking forward, we should all be grateful. We do not intend to take on any further assignments for the time being. Two parishes, a hospital, and the county jail is already a lot. On any given Sunday, I try to schedule and ensure coverage for up to nine Masses. The future of other parishes around us do not look so bright, as the number of priests continue to decrease and priests continue to be stretched thinner. The Oratory will only add to our number, giving to us more priests to share duties and open up opportunities currently not available. Stability is one of two cardinal principles of the Oratory, and it is the hallmark of our parishes.
I only ask for your continued support and prayers. Without this, this would be an impossible task. Please consider volunteering and helping reduce the load of work on the priests and staff. Whether it by helping with office tasks, cleaning, or volunteering to help with events and socials. These parishes were built by the faithful who had a dream of worshiping God, together we can continue this dream. Continuing proper worship of God and a deep learning and love for the Faith.