The next step of Partners in the Gospel – priest transitions

Across the archdiocese, announcements are being made at every parish about priest transitions. On one hand – and I’m surely not alone in this! – it is good to finally have priest (re)assignments known publicly. On the other hand, this is another benchmark where things get real: major changes are coming and we can’t pretend otherwise.

Adding to my own mixed feelings is the fact that I am on away with my family in Austin, Texas this week and next – we’re here to see the total solar eclipse, a trip we’ve been planning since my folks saw the last one in 2017. Even two thousand miles away, our hearts & minds (and conversations!) are enmeshed in all that is happening and to come with Partners in the Gospel. Who will our priest(s) be? What will our parish(es) look like? How will our communities change? Even with some of those questions answered this weekend, there is a lot that has yet to be discerned and revealed by the Lord.

It may be providential that we are reflecting on these questions at the tail end of the octave of Easter. Surely the Apostles were wondering these things at Christ’s death, but all the moreso at His resurrection. Though a wholly joyful event, His return must have raised new worries and anxieties. What will happen next? If Jesus is willing to suffer and die for His Father, what might He ask of us? Surely things won’t be the same as before…. but what does that mean going forward?

With the advantage of time & hindsight, we know that everything did change – with great fruitfulness even where sacrifice & suffering was required. But before that was demanded of the Apostles, Jesus made sure to spend personal time with them, to repeatedly console them – “peace be with you” – even when that meant walking through locked doors to find them where they were huddled in fear.

Jesus I trust in you…. mostly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Despite any unease about what the future might hold, there is great peace to be found, if only we will spend time with the Lord. I know that I have spent – and will spend many more! – hours before the Lord in prayer, sometimes with great serenity, other times with great restlessness. But His message remains the same: “peace be with you”. Though it is hard to accept the ambiguities the future holds, the Holy Spirit is here with us now. As best we can, may we entrust ourselves to the providential care of God, confident that regardless of what comes next, He is actively caring for and guiding us.

Click below to read the letter from Archbishop Etienne as well as my own letter, both shared with my parish at all the weekend Masses:
Archbishop Etienne’s letter announcing the new priests of Parish Family 12
Father Maurer’s parish letter regarding priest transitions
Archdiocesan appointments for Partners in the Gospel

(Re)Learning to breathe

Clara trying not to breath (Doctor Who - 'Deep Breath')
Clara trying not to breathe (Doctor Who – ‘Deep Breath’)

One of my favorite science fiction shows is Doctor Who and one of my favorite actors in the show is Peter Capaldi. He played the twelfth regeneration of the Doctor and was introduced to the role in 2004. His first full episode as the Doctor was titled ‘Deep Breath’ – the antagonists were robots who disguised themselves as people. Their true nature was revealed when the Doctor and Clara (his companion) realized that the robots were not doing something that every human being does: breathing.

Shortly afterwards, Clara is trapped in a room alone with the robots and must hide herself among them. So she takes a deep breath and tries to escape. As you might imagine, it doesn’t last and she is discovered when she must gasp for air. Happily, the robots are eventually overpowered and defeated with the help of the Doctor and friends.

Lately it feels like we’ve all been holding our breath – waiting for the latest cancellation of public services, anticipating the unavailability of our favorite events, or just bracing for the latest development. Whether it is a news cast, official proclamation, or even a letter for your pastor, it doesn’t quite feel safe to breath…..even when we’re the recommended six feet away from each other!

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