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Imperfect in terms of an analogy, but nonetheless a pretty darn accurate depiction of the movements of my heart these last several days!

Well, here I am! After months of preparation for both my departure from Shoreline and my arrival on the Olympic Peninsula, we’ve finally come to the moment of truth: moving into this new phase of Partners in the Gospel.

Saying goodbye this last Sunday was everything I could hope for, with all the accompanying sadness and joys. I don’t think I’ve exchanged hugs with as many people in a year as I did over the course of twenty four hours! And I was overwhelmed – and still overwhelmed! – by how much love and affection was shown to & shared with me before, at, and after each Mass….. and that’s not even counting the many, many cards & notes I received. When I finally finished unpacking earlier this week, I was able to sit down and read through them all – and those emotions welled up all over again.

To all of you whom I have had the privilege of serving during my time in Shoreline I can only say this: thank you. I am so deeply humbled by your kindness, care, and outpouring of friendship. I have been blessed to be your priest. I know that your new pastor & vicar – as well as the communities to which you are newly joined – will be equally blessed.

After the room had finally cleared out at the reception, with everyone heading home, I loaded up my car – final belongs & cats and all – and made my way to the Olympic Peninsula. And within just a couple days, I’m happy to report that everything is unpacked and the place is starting to feel like what it is: my new home!

But this isn’t vacation time and my first day on the job was Monday! Over this last week, I’ve driven over 125 miles. This weekend I’ll drive another 125+ miles as I spend the weekend with my parishioners in Forks and Clallam Bay. The new schedule we’ve composed allows me to visit every parish at least once a week but boy howdy, I’m going to be doing a LOT driving! Happily, I’ve got my trusty rosary, reliable GPS, and a phone loaded up with podcasts.

And in truth, I’m excited about being here! We have an excellent staff, wonderful deacons, and I’m slowing beginning to meet various parishioners as I cycle among the parishes for liturgies and office hours. Though I’m sure there are anxieties & worries aplenty, the optimism and openness I have encountered so far has been wonderfully encouraging. May the Lord bless us all as we begin this new venture, that our hearts may be open to His prompting – readying us to unite ourselves more closely to Him!

An oil painting of Father Junipera Serra

July 1 – Today is the memorial of Saint Junipero Serra – an especially familiar name to anyone from California. He joined the Franciscans at the age of 26 and was eventually sent to Mexico to serve as a missionary. He was so enthusiastic in the work of sharing the faith that he oversaw the establishment of fifteen missions in what was then Upper California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988 and canonized by Pope Francis in 2015. Read Bishop Barron’s reflection on him from that year.

Caravaggio's painting "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas". Jesus guides Thomas's hand into His pierced side while two apostles look on

July 3 – I used to wonder if Saint Thomas – whose feast day is today – might be a little frustrated that his nickname here on earth is ‘Doubting Thomas’. But it is Jesus’ response that lays that concern to rest, as it did also for Thomas’ concerns. The Lord’s only response to Thomas’ skepticism was to give him exactly what he needed to believe! Thomas’ doubt became Christ’s instrument – and the Jesus can do the same for us. Read Pope Francis’ 2013 reflection on that moment.

An American flag stands upright in front of a rock wall

July 4Today we celebrate our Independence Day. Though very much a secular holidy, it is a good prompt for all to consider how we use our freedom. Not simply something we are given for its own sake, the gift of free will is ours so that we would choose the good – for ourselves and others. May we ask the Lord to help us do just that, every day. Check out he Catholic Company’s reflection on our celebration.

A photo of an image of Saint Antonio Maria Zaccaria at Saint Fracesco College in Lodi, Italy

July 5 – Today we celebrate Saint Anthony Zaccaria. Often overshadowed by his contemporary Martin Luther, he sought to reform the Church from within. He helped found not one or two, but three religious communities – all seeking to move away from the decadence of the time, bringing clergy, religious, and lay people into the effort. His efforts put him and his community under scrutiny, though he was exonerated each time. Read about him at Loyola Press.

A painting of Maria Goretti

July 6 – The story of Saint Maria Goretti is an extraordinary one. One might focus on the fact that she refused to submit to the repeated sexual advances of her attacker (over a year he pressured her) and thus gave up her life – and that is certainly true. Reports about her final hours suggest that she expressed extraordinary faith and forgiveness. But it is what happened after she died that is truly amazing: she appeared to her attacker in a vision, inspiring him to repent and eventually convert. Check out Michelle Arnold’s reflection at Patheos reflection on her life and sainthood.

Priests celebrating their anniversaries this week

A color line art picture of people gathered around an altar as incense rises above them to heaven before the three Persons of the Trinity, Mary & Joseph, and all the saints & angels.
  • Rev. Negusse Keleta (July 1, 1984)
  • Rev. William Cleary, C.Ss.R. (July 2, 1962)
  • Rev. Reynaldo Yu (July 3, 1983)
  • Rev. Lucio Villalobos, M.Sp.S. (July 3, 2004)
  • Rev. George Seidel, O.S.B. (July 5, 1958)
  • Rev. Perry Petrich, S.J. (July 6, 2020)

Remembering our deceased priests

  • Fr. James Coghlan (July 2, 1916)
  • Fr. Vincent Connolly (July 3, 1971)
  • Fr. Michael Meade (July 3, 1976)
  • Fr. John A. Walsh (July 3, 1977)
  • Fr. Roger Furlong (July 4, 1947)
  • Fr. James Toner (July 4, 1957)
A black and white line art drawing of Christ the judge enthroned within an arch with angels seated on pillars to His right and left with stars behind him.