St John's Q&A

Friday, June 16, 2006

Goodbye, St Francis

Today, I move on to my first priestly assignment: St Andrew the Apostle Church in Silver Spring. While I am sad to leave St Francis, I very much look forward to begin working in the vineyard of St Andrew's. St Andrew's is located at the intersection of Kemp Mill Rd and Arcola Ave, about 10 miles from St Francis. It is a sizable parish with a large school (over 400 students). Should be a good fit, pray God.

These past nine months have been pretty amazing here in this great parish. It all started in the rectory, where I truly enjoyed my time with Fr Lee and Msgr Ralph. These are two very fine priests who have been faithful for so many years. I learned so much from both of them about service, priesthood, life, and love. They continually showed me Christ and the fullness of his Gospel. They taught me what it means to be a shepherd, mainly through their actions, and also through their words (in the true spirit of St Francis!). What an honor to share a home with these two holy men!

To the staff and parishioners of this extraordinary parish, I say two words: THANK YOU!! Thank you for your warmth, friendship, fun, support, prayers, and love. You helped me so much during some of the most critical months of my life - preparing for ordination. I realized early on that the reason God put me here was so that I would be as ready as I could be, spiritually and personally, for priesthood.

St Francis is a family parish and a parish family!! Christ is truly present in your hearts and His love and kindness are shown regularly here. I had a real experience of His kingdom these past nine months. And, speaking of nine months, it's been like a mother carrying her child to birth. You have given birth to a priestly vocation, and now I am the fruit of your womb. Whatever good I do in my priesthood, it will be through you. You have nurtured a vocation so well; God knew what He is doing in sending me here.

While I say 'goodbye' in my title, this is not goodbye. If we pray for each other, we will see each other in prayer every day. Please pray for me, that I will be a faithful priest! Please know that you will be in my daily prayers. My hope is that you will remain a Christ-centered parish family, focused on Christ in the Eucharist, and living his Gospel of Love. May God continue to bless you abundantly, and thank you, St Francis! I love you all.
P.S. I will continue this blog site - probably will start one at St Andrew's, and just cut and paste from that one onto here when I do.


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