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.