We had a meeting yesterday; a transition meeting for pastors and staffs who will be undergoing a change on July 1. Tom, the facilitator,likened the process to a divorce and immediate re-marriage. A lot of people can't figure out why we need a process like this, but when you work closely with a pastor there is a bond formed. It's very difficult when a change occurs. We had a priest removed due to the scandal in 2002 and we could have used a process like this to help us heal. I'm not sure we're healed yet, but we are getting there.
Back to the meeting, there was an opportunity for us to say things to our departing pastor. I took the opportunity to apologize for not doing all I could to help him. And I didn't. As I look back over the six years he was with us, I had many chances to make his ministry a little easier and didn't. When he came to us, we were struggling and wounded, but we failed to see what a huge challenge this would be for a new priest just three years past his ordination. Instead of reaching out to him, a lot of us stood in judgement of things he did that we didn't like. Rather than confront him directly with the issues, we talked about him behind his back and generally made things more difficult. When I made my apology I found myself brought to tears at the opportunities I let pass me by. I looked up and there were tears in his eyes too.
Over the last year he and I made a lot of progress in our pastoral relationship. He told me I was like his big sister (very charitable considering I'm old enough to be his mother.) I would have liked a little more time, but I am happy we got there before he transferred. Four years ago I would have jumped for joy at this transition, but not now. It will be a mourning process. No matter what our differences were, he was truly invested in our parish and he worked very hard to become the best priest he knew how to be. My prayer is that Assumption parish in Midland will continue to help him grow in his ministry, and that they will do it with kindness and compassion.
After the first hour, our new pastors came to our table and our departing pastors went to meet their new staffs. Continuing the marriage theme, our new pastor greeted us with "hi honey, I'm home." That broke the ice and got us all laughing. This new priest will be unlike any we have had - but that is the case with every pastoral assignment. He is one year past ordination, we are his first full-length assignment. He is excited and full of ideas. He's energetic and in love with his ministry. He will do things that some will like and he will do things that some won't. My hope is that we will remember the pastor at Assumption who gave us six years of his life, and that we will learn from our mistakes - that we will treat our new pastor with the kindness and compassion that we sometimes failed to use with our departing pastor - that when the time comes for the next transfer, we will send this pastor off with fewer regrets of the things we could have done, should have done, but didn't.
In other news:
I have a ton of stuff to do today. I didn't get all of my list accomplished yesterday and after the meeting, I was too wound up with conflicting emotions to do much of anything.
The doll I was making for Madison didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. When our girls were little, Anna and Melisa (Nina hadn't arrived yet) I made them some really cute dolls. I wish I could find that pattern. So today I will be shopping for Madison's birthday present. Today is also grocery day. I have tarts to pour for an order. And I have tons of cleaning to do. The house is a wreck.
Word of the day:
Thursday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Herve, Abbot, (6th century)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6:7-15.
In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
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