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Spanning the Diocese

As I prepare to move to my new assignment at St. Michael’s in Newark next week, I have thought about the various places I have served.  Next Thursday, June 30th, I will celebrate my ninth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood.  In those nine years, I have served in three different parishes that included four (Chemung, Yates, Ontario, and Tompkins) of the twelve countries in our diocese.  During my first assignment as a priest, I also did coverage in other churches (that adds the counties of Tioga, Steuben, and Schuyler Counties as well as a special Mass at a conference in Livingston County and a Mass in Fairport (Monroe County) where I did my pastoral year).  All total I have presided at Mass in twenty-six different churches including a monastery in nine different counties.  If you add in my first parish summer assignment in the seminary at St. Mary’s in Auburn that adds Cayuga County.  You could also include Seneca County where I served as a chaplain at a boy scout camp while doing my pre-theology studies.  This was not an assignment from the diocese but I did minster there.

That leaves one county I have not ministered in the Diocese of Rochester – Wayne County.

Would you like to guess what county Newark is in?

Since I will arrive at St. Michael’s on June 28th, this means that by the time I celebrate my ninth anniversary on Thursday, June 30th, I would have ministered in some way (albeit some of them a single Mass) in all twelve counties of our diocese.  I would have never expected this.

As I have said Mass in different churches, there have been connections from the past (see my article “It’s a Small World” from 2012).  Even as I go to St. Michael’s, I already know that the son of one of the couples here at Immaculate belongs to St. Michael’s (and he has the same name as his dad).  I also know that just like Immaculate, the Mercy Associates are present at St. Michael’s.

Most of all, I know it is the same faith with the same Mass and teachings that have been part of my ministry in my various assignments.  The faces in the pews may be different.  There will be different needs and expectations but it will be the same God that I serve and follow as I lead St. Michael’s as their new pastor.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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