By now, you may have heard the news that I will be on Sabbatical beginning next week. This has been something I have worked toward for nearly a decade, but the timing and possibilities have only now come together. I have served as Pastor for more than 20 years of my priesthood, starting
January 1, 1996, and continuing up to the present day.
In that time of ministry, I have learned much. The greatest wisdom that has come to me,
however, is that I need to keep learning.
Every assignment I have experienced has served to teach me more about the richness of our Catholic Faith. I look forward to continuing to learn as I strive to deepen my understanding of the charism of the Focolare Movement and their work on behalf of unity.
I have also discovered new aspects of myself in each situation where I have been sent to serve, as Associate Pastor, high school teacher, Vocations minister, Seminary professor, spiritual director, and Pastor. The People of God in each place have brought out in me gifts that the Lord planted in my priesthood for our mutual growth in holiness. This time of Sabbatical will allow me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow as well as to reflect more profoundly on the journey we have had together and what we can accomplish in the future.
The Summer months have been very busy. As you can imagine, I have been working very diligently behind the scenes to ensure that everything that needed to be set for my time away is arranged – calendars, schedules, etc. This has been quite a task! I thank all those who have helped. If I have missed anything, I know you will get along fine under the leadership of Msgr. Schlegel, who was my second-to-last Pastor in my time as Associate.
Last week, I took the opportunity to spend time learning about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd by taking the first year of training that is offered in the Diocese of
. As a result of this, I have a better
understanding myself of the principles on which this program is based. No doubt this will help us all to move ahead
with our plans to follow the Good Shepherd where He leads us in the years