Monday, November 19, 2007

So Long, Father Jim

Yesterday at mass, Father Jim announced that December 2nd will be the last mass he officiates at Holy Family Parish. The bishop has reassigned him to St John Newman in Wexford. I think this came as a huge shock to him. And he doesn't really have any answers for us as to who will be his replacement.

I am upset and confused. Confused at my own feelings but I explain that later. I'm upset that he's leaving right before Christmas. And I always got something out of his homily. It was never long but Father always said that was because if you talk longer than 5 minutes, you're repeating yourself and losing the attention of your congregation. He held the attention of his parishioners including my kids. And I'm so afraid that his replacement won't be able to do that. I don't want church to become a chore for them. Or me for that matter. When we were still St. Joseph's (before the reunification with Sts. Cyril and Methodius) our priest was Father Rishel. He was wonderful! He baptized me, officiated over my first confession, my first holy communion and my confirmation. I had hoped that he would would marry me. But that was not to be. After the reunification when the 2 parishes of New Brighton became Holy Family, Father Parsons was our resident priest. And, God forgive me, he was AWFUL! We even left Holy Family for a time. When you walk out of church completely pissed off (sorry that's the best description) there's something wrong. But we returned after he was transferred and Father Orr came. He was better than Father Parsons but he was no Father Rishel. He was our advocate for Kenny's annulment. But I think he forgot about that. Kenny's annulment proceedings were actually archived because he failed to follow-up. It wasn't until Father Jim came that we found that out. He took over and within 3 months it was completed. He married Kenny and I in the church on Nov. 12, 2004. And he baptized my children. They made their first communion and confirmation under him. And for that, he will always be special to me.

There are things about him that I do not like. That's just human nature. And I was going to tell you my reasons. But there's really no point in getting into that right now. You take the good with the bad because the good far outweighs the other. In his homily yesterday, he talked about how the priest has no face. He's not white or black, good looking or disfigured, tall or short, fat or thin. Because it's not about him. The church's foundation was not built on the appearance of the priest. It was built on and centered around Jesus Christ. And that is all that matters. So see, even now he's a good shepherd. Gathering his flock and guiding them as He directs. I don't know how I will make it through his last mass with us. Because that too is human nature. And I'm going to miss him, nonetheless.

Blessing of the day: I'm blessed to have a wonderful priest these last few years to guide me on my path with Christ. God Bless you, Father Jim.

38 comments:

lori said...

You are right, it's not the priests who build the parish...but the PEOPLE..but none the less, I understand...
When we lived in Wexford, St. John Newman was JUST BUILT..what a blast from the past...

Pray for him too, I can't imagine leaving a parish that you love...that has to hard, even if it is your life calling.

Church changed for me a long time ago though, when I stopped depending on someone else to 'feed' me...does that even make sense? I LOVE going and walking out with a 'message' but there are times that it just does not happen...in any church, in any denomination...we are people and so are they...
some have a gift to speak and inspire and others just don't...
I know what you mean...hopefully, you will be blessed with a new priest with so much to offer your parish...and if not...you'll figure that out when you need to..
peace Julie!
hugs,
lori

lori said...

who said I wouldn't post...
I have a mild form of OCD (at least some people THINK I do:)) and my posts for the WEEK are ready to go!! HA!

stop in if you get bored!
lori:)

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Julie,
I'm sorry you are losing a good priest. It is that way sometimes. We get attached to someone and then whoosh, they are gone. We are Methodist's and I sort of know what you are going through. My hubby had a bad wreck back in 1998, and we had a down to earth pastor. He was the best. He came to visit and always checked on us. Words just can't describe him. Well, they voted him out. It really hurt me. I so hated to see him go. He Christened our youngest daughter also. But God knows our needs and what is best for us. I know he will help you through this time. Take care my friend and have a great Monday. May God Be With You and Bless You and Yours.

Hugs,
Karen H.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

It is always a challenge to say goodbye to a good pastor of his flock. I know that there will be difficult times ahead as you come to terms with it all. It is good that nothing comes as a surprise to the Lord and that He is well aware of the changes ahead.

Thank you for your visit to me. I was delighted!

IsabellaCloset said...

Sorry to hear that your priest will be leaving, how sad he'll go before Christmas. I've grown up Catholic and seen many changes in the church over the years both for the good and the bad. I've yet to understand why the church does what it does. My Grandchildren go to catholic school and we fear it will close some day. How sad the thought...
We have a wonderful priest at St. Mary's I would be very upset to see him leave. I hope your new priest will be even better...
Have a happy Thanksgiving
~Mary~ :-}

Kristen said...

I am sorry to hear that you are losing him right before the holidays. It is so hard to remember that God has his hand in everything at all moments. In his perfect timing he is providing you with a new blessing for your church. It sounds as though he is working to ensure that you are all as prepared as possible for the new priest. I will be praying for your church.

Brenda said...

Julie, I am so sorry. I will pray for you. I know you will make it...you are one strong lady. I agree with Lori. I feel that you are a leader. You have so much spirit within you for others. Trust and look to God then pass it own to others and your family as we all know you already do..WE ALL LOVE AND NEED YOU.

Alice said...

How sad that you are losing a priest that you like right before Christmas. Doesn't it just seem like normal human compassion to have let him stay in your parish until after the first of the year? I do hope your new priest is one that you can feel a connection with and who helps you meet whatever religious goals you've set for yourself and your family.

Donna said...

I'm so sorry you are losing your priest. You sound like you have a lot of faith and I know you will make it through this time.
I'll keep you in my prayers.
Take care and have a good week.
Hugs,
Donna

bj said...

Julie, we always try to remember that it is GOD'S church, not the priest or pastor or Father, just as you stated. I have a feeling God is going to send you another priest that all will grow to love dearly.
Happy holiday,
bj

Anita said...

I'll keep you in my prayers... God has a plan, I'm sure...

Kari & Kijsa said...

It is hard to say goodbye to someone who has been a blessing to your family....but we are sure that God has something wonderful in store for you.

Have a blessed day!
kari and kijsa

willzmom said...

Life is a journey, and we meet some wonderful people along the way. The sad part is when they move on, it's hard for us to let go, but the blessing is that they will be a light for someone new (especially to share God's love). The new person that comes along may not be our 'cup of tea' but they too will move on one day, or you may leave first. Like Dr. Suess says, "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened".

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

Good luck with the new guy. I'm sure after the adjustment period it wll be the same with him, some things you like some you don't. Hope the balance is in your favor!

And yes, please do add the Holiday Home party button to your side bar, anytime you want.

Mary said...

Hi Julie, many thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We recently had an associate pastor reassigned, but we were happy because he wasn't our "cup of tea." His replacement is wonderful -- warm and humble and genuine (all the things the other was not).

It seems kind of harsh to replace your pastor just before Christmas, though...

Have a wonderful holiday!
xoxo,
Mary

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Hi Julie,

What a blessing he has been for you and your family...He must be greatly needed elsewhere to be moved just before the holidays.

Hugs,
Dena

Bethany Hissong said...

I was just going to say what Lori said... it is more about what you bring than what you receive, but I do understand how it's hard to stop a relationship so abruptly. Being a newer Catholic, I realized right away that assignments change quite frequently for priests and I actually think it is good for everyone. I hope the new one is someone you can connect with. The Church never changes though and the Eucharist is still the reason we gather together, so regardless of the ministry, the most important things are still present!!! If it were a Protestant church, then the change could cause much more problems...be thankful that's probably not the case! We've been through that too many times. Just think how this new priest must feel...his whole life is changing, where you only have to get used to a short Sunday Mass homily change!!!

PEA said...

We have been getting different priests every few years lately and just when we start getting used to one, he leaves! I miss the days when a priest would stay at the same parish for 20 or 30 years!! Now they get shuffled around so much. Because of all that, I haven't felt close to a priest since many years ago but as long as I feel close to God, that's all that's important:-) xox

melissa @ the inspired room said...

So sorry to hear this, however, sometimes these departures are a blessing in disguise. Other times they never do make sense to us. Keep your trust in the Lord who sees all things and will bless your faithfulness with a worthy leader.

xo,
Melissa

justabeachkat said...

Oh, it's so hard to have changes in anything we love, especially our church. I know since we went through a similar situation not too long ago. I'm still trying to adjust. I'll stop now and say a prayer for you.

Hugs!
Kat

restyled home said...

Hi Julie,
Change is hard, but of all people. I know you will roll with it and make the best out of a new, if unfamiliar, situation.

All the best,
Linda

Linda said...

Hi Julie, I'm sorry you are losing your priest, especially at this time of year. It is only human nature to feel closer and insipred by a certain priest. I hope your new priest will continue to inspire and guide in your faith. Linda

jp said...

5 minute sermons? Do you know how many years that would have added to my childhood if our priest had the same philosophy?

T*mmy said...

No matter what religion you are and no matter how it happens it is always hard to lose a beloved pastor/priest or for them to fall from Grace...I don't know which is worse...I've experienced both.

Maybe the next one will be even better. You do have that hope! =)

From the Doghouse said...

Look at it this way; the lessons he can teach are completed, it's time for someone to come in and bring focus to a different area. Embrace it as a time to grow.

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

Firstly, this is the best rendition of Oh Holy Night I've ever heard! Good job picking that one out! Very nice guitar.

Secondly, I'm terribly sorry for this loss that you'll feel when he's gone. Hopefully the next one will be as good.

Rosemary said...

That's too bad Julie, and right before Christmas.
Change is bad.
Rosemary

joan said...

Hi Julie,

I know, change is hard sometimes but sometimes things change for the better when you don't realize it. Hope this is one of those times. Have a great week!

jo ~ neereandearcreations.com said...

Hi sweets... sorry I havent had a chance to post until now... been sick... still am sick... but I read this story and felt for you ... The emotions you are feeling are very real and very normal... its hard to lose one that means so much to us... I would like to think that they may need him for a very big reason at this other parish ... perhaps something that he or you cant see right now... but that does not make the pain of the loss any less... I have been through those priests that lose you after the first sentence... its difficult to sit through at times... hopefully the next one that comes to your church will be just as wonderful as the last one... If I could I would reach right out and HUG you tight...

HUGS BLESSINGS LOVE

JO

BellaColle said...

Oh gosh..unexpected change is never fun! I wish I could go back to my "Home" church...but the good Lord has a plan, sometimes I understand it...most of the time I don't. I know it will be okay! I'll pray for you.
hugs.

Terri and Bob said...

Good point. Being catholic, I understand what seems to be the whim of the church to move priests around. It is like losing your brother which I do have first hand knowledge of. I can understand the sadness.

However, God gives us gifts everyday. I am looking forward to the gift he is sending to you! What a lucky man to come to your congregation!

Michelle said...

Julie, I'm sorry to hear of your priest. I hope you will find guidance and comfort from your new priest. Happy Thanksgiving. Michelle

Susie Q said...

I do understand dear heart...I have felt that way with many ministers over the years. Now we have two that are wonderful men but the one just speaks from his heart and his words always move me so. I do not get as much from the other minister;s words. I feel terrible to feel that way but it is only human nature I guess.

I have, for years, been in a quest to find a church I feel totally blessed in and have been thinking about the Catholic Church. Most of my oldest and dearest friends are and they will help lead me if I ask. Bill is now coming to this decision as well...hard to express all that I feel in a comment! : )

I love how you are so able to express yourself easily here. I admire that. I am enjoying getting to know you and think you are quite special.

Hugs,Sue

Sling said...

I was seriously reading your post,when I heard thst wonderful music!..
The guitar,oboe,cymbals,..what is that faint vocal in the background?..
O Holy Night...Thanks for that!

Auld Hat said...

Jules - I am squenching (((you))) right now. Feel that? That's some Hat love baby.

Cottage Contessa said...

Julie, I'm sorry you are upset. When I don't like, or can't understand why something is happening, I try to remember that there's a reason and a season for everything. God's driving the bus, we're just along for the ride!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Meggie said...

Julie: Don't ya just hate when an inspirational priest is transferred without any explanation? I know the old story...it's not the priest but the congregation. Yeah, but doesn't a good speaking priest make going to church on Sundays a whole lot more enjoyable? I feel for you....Try to have a Happy Thanksgiving in spite of it all.

Mangia-Mangia said...

I'm soooooooo upset about that ! I LOVED him he was nice, he kept it simple, humorous, kind, and everyone liked him! Sure he sang a little to much but he was my favorite priest so far. I can't imaging what he going through or getting a new priest.
GOD BLESS YOU FATHER JIM
love ya t,
Beaner