Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I was ordained a priest in June 2007. My first assignment was St. Mary’s on the south side of Elmira. I served there for three years but after two years the pastor’s term was up and a new pastor came. The following year, my three-year term was up and I moved to Our Lady of the Lakes for a different experience. One year after I arrived at Our Lady of the Lakes, the pastor left to take a new parish. So, a new pastor came.
This June will be the fifth anniversary of my ordination as a priest. I will have served in two different parishes with four different pastors. One might think that I might be doing something to wear out pastors! I hope not!
Well, this week Bishop Clark to give me a new assignment. At the end of June, I will be moving to Ithaca to serve at Immaculate Conception. You might wonder if I will wear out the pastor there too. I hope not because I will be the pastor!
All kidding aside, through a lot of prayer and discernment, I do believe this is where God is calling me to be. That is what is most important. Before I received the call from the bishop, people sometimes asked if I felt ready to be a pastor. My answer was ‘how do you know if you are ready to do something you haven’t done before?’
I didn’t feel ‘not ready’ but what does it mean to be ready? Of course, in the years when there were a lot more priests, a priest may be ordained 20 years before they became a pastor. Of course, in those days, most priests were ordained at 26 years of age and had never had another job. I spent several years in engineering and was almost 38 years old when I was ordained.
The two parishes I have served in certainly have given my very different experience. The first being a single church serving a portion of one county while the second covered an area spanning three counties (and three area codes) with four churches currently celebrating Sunday Mass.
Every parish has its pro’s and con’s. Every parish can have its challenges. What is most important is that it be where God is leading me. As long as I go where God leads me and I remain open to His will, God will give me (often through the people around me) what I need to accomplish what He asks of me.
Please pray for me as I prepare to take this new assignment.