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Following God’s Will

If you are a regular reader of my blog, by now you know that on June 28th, I will end my assignment as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Ithaca and move to Newark, NY where I will become the pastor of St. Michael’s Church.

This has not been an easy decision for me.  I had never been a pastor before coming to Immaculate and it has been challenging to oversee a parish with a church, school. two cemeteries, a gift shop, food pantry, and various ministries.  God has led me through these four years to accomplish many tasks with the help of dedicated parishioners and the staff.

In recent months, I was praying to God for guidance on how to shift from tasks that I had been dealing with that have improved and shift to working on other items that need the pastor’s assistance.  I feel like I wasn’t getting much guidance until one day I heard God say, “You have done what I wanted you to at Immaculate and now I have something else for you.”  He didn’t tell me what I was supposed to do next but I have such a deep feeling of peace and grace that I had to listen.  That is when I submitted my resignation (effective June 28th).

The most difficult part here for me was not knowing where I was going but I submitted my resignation so the diocese could begin looking for my replacement.  I did this for the good of the parish.

Since I did not know where I would be going, I felt lost.  A priest friend of mine suggested I use a discernment prayer by Thomas Merton.  So I googled it and found it at (it is the third prayer listed there).  It was a great prayer and really expressed what I was feeling so I used it everyday for a couple of weeks (and still do some).

On that webpage you will find a couple of other discernment prayers.  The first one has also been a great help for me.  I truly believe God has a plan for each one of us.  When we feel lost, we need to ask God to reveal his plan for us.  Even when we think we are on the right track, we still need to ask God if we are doing the right thing.

As I go to St. Michael’s, I don’t know what God’s plan is except that I truly believe this is where I am supposed to go.  While I would really like to know the whole plan now, I trust that God will reveal each step of the plan at the proper time and I just need to make sure I’m listening to God and not running off on my own ideas.

I encourage you to look at the prayers at the link above and see if they help you to open yourself to God’s will.


Fr. Jeff



  1. Gail Lyle says:

    I could say “ditto” is a hard thing for me BUT I know HIS plan is the very best for me. Hopefully I follow it, not always sure I hear HIS voice but I figure HE is bigger than me so if not He will REALLY get my attention someway..Thanks for sharing..

  2. RMB says:

    I agree with you God does have a plan for each one of us. The saying I like is ; You can make all the plans you want to but God has made his plans and He doesn’t see the need to check in with you. In the past 5 years I have come to believe that even more. Life has been difficult on many levels and God was there showing me the way. I believe that God continues to direct my life putting people in my life and putting me in other people’s lives for his reasons. I have to trust God and be willing to listen and follow what his will is. I wouldn’t be here without God’s guidance. He has shown me love and has shown me how to share my love with others.

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