On Giants' Shoulders

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes

Yesterday at the end of Mass Father Mayo told us that the bishop had announced the priest assignments for the next year. For the first time in 10 years there is a change at our parish, and it's a very major one. Both of our priests are leaving. Father Mayo is moving to Senior Priest status and will be returning to his home area. This means that while he'll be helping out in parishes etc. he will no longer be a pastor. After 45 years and at age 70 it's time to slow down. That was not totally unexpected. He had told our RCIA class 11 years ago that he would probably take this step at 70 . What was less expected is that Father Mattison is leaving as well. He will be becoming pastor of a parish about 45 minutes to the south.

So we get two new priests. I don't know either of them, although my daughter is familiar with one of them. The new pastor is currently pastor of a parish 45 minutes to the north and is about 25 years younger than Father Mayo. The new parochial vicar (assistant pastor) is a priest from Nigeria. So the changes will certainly be big for him. I'm so tremendously glad that Africa has so many priestly vocations that they can send priests to America to minister. It's so exciting that we get to have one of those priests at our parish!

I must admit that I'm both excited and nervous about the changes. It's certainly going to be different. Having to switch confessors is going to be a real change. While I've certainly been to Mass many times with priests other than these two celebrating, it's been at parishes other than my own, going to another parish was a bit like going to another family's home for dinner. This is going to be a change at home, so to speak. I've certainly seen these changes in the Protestant world I came from, and in fact in the first two years I was at Christ the King we actually had 3 different parochial vicars. So it's not as if change was a truly new thing. It's just that for 10 years there's been no change at all. There's a familiarity about that, and familiarity is one kind of good feeling. However, this change is ripe with possibilities.

One somewhat sad element in this change is that the priest who celebrates Mass at my daughter's wedding will not be either of the priests who have been here throughout her years at Christ the King. Fortunately, the priest doing the wedding ceremony itself is a priest from another parish who happens to be very special to my daughter and her fiance. It's only the Mass itself that will be celebrated by one of our two new priests. So their new beginning will be marked by our new beginnings as well.

So hold onto your hats folks, the winds of change are blowing through.


At 5:40 AM, Blogger mom v many said...

Oh Liz!
We, too, will be receiving a new priest. I was especially sorry to hear your daughter will not have the priest of her youth but I'm glad to hear it's someone she and her intended know and trust. I hope things go smooth in your neck of the woods.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Liz said...

I think my daughter was a little disappointed, but I have to say that overall I'm more excited than nervous about the changes. The new pastor is someone who's had an EF mass celebrated by the bishop at his current parish and who's also had some really top notch speakers come in to give presentations (Scott Hahn for one). So I'm sort of feeling like perhaps he'll inject some new elements into things at our parish. It's easy to for things to get at least a little moribund when you've had the same pastor for nearly 25 years, especially when the rest of the staff has also stayed the same for most of that time. So I think some change will be good. What I was hoping for was that the bishop would send us The Owl, but since he just got moved last year that was really being unrealistic. I have to admit that I hope our new pastor is a Chesterton/Belloc fan.

So who is your parish getting and where is your current priest headed for? Father Mayo is planning on moving back to your area (which is where he's from in the first place)so he may be filling in for you on occasion. We didn't learn any details about the rest of the 30 changes which were being made. I'm also wondering if the priest in Pittsford is changing as well since Father Romano is about the same age as Father Mayo. I'll be looking forward to seeing what all the changes are.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger mom v many said...

The owl is our priest and he is who we will be losing to Stowe. *sigh*
I believe Fr. B said it would be Rev. Tom Nadeau? I really don't "know" many priests beyond an aquaintance level and I'm not sure where Fr. Tom is moving from. I missed the presentations by Dr. Hahn as one of our kids was having his Holy Communion that day.

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Liz said...

Fr. Nadeau is not someone I'm familiar with either. I'm sorry that you guys are losing Father B. He was at the Catholic Center at UVM my daughter's freshman year and she really liked him. I've only heard a couple of his homilies, but I was really impressed. Perhaps his new assignment will allow him to work with the students at Johnson college.

Other than our parish priests the ones I have an actual speaking aquaintance with are the ones who've been at the Catholic Center. So I sort of "know" Father De Forge, Father McDermott, Father Royer...Most of the rest of the priests in the diocese are only names to me. My daughter knows some of the new ones because of having been a counselor at Camp Tara/Holy Cross.Because her fiance was a counselor there for several summers they got to know the seminarians before they were ordained.

It's sort of exciting for us to be getting a somewhat younger priest. Father Mayo was ordained before Vatican II and Father Mattison just after. We had Father Harlow at Christ the King as parochial vicar for about a year and he's in the same general age group as Father Baker. I really appreciated his ministry and was sorry to see him leave. What experience I've had with these somewhat younger priests has been very positive, so even though it means that we'll have a pastor significantly younger than me, I'm actually looking forward to it.

I missed Scott Hahn's presentations as well. It never got advertised in our parish bulletin and I don't get the Tribune, so I only read about it after the fact. I've heard Dr. Hahn several times at Defending the Faith. His book Rome Sweet Home was instrumental in our becoming Catholic. I was hoping to get to Defending the Faith this summer, but with my daughter's wedding in early August and my niece's wedding in St. Louis in late June a trip to Ohio in July is out of the question. Maybe next year...

At 11:10 AM, Blogger mom v many said...

Our summer will be a busy one as well. I am in formation to be a certified catechist for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I'll complete level 2 this June.Yeah!! One more level to go....

I just heard there were 40 re-assignments for our diocese. That's pretty huge!

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Father Mayo said on Sunday that it was 30, but either way that's a whole lot of changes. I guess the bishop is trying to shake things up a bit, stir us out of our complacency, or something. I do think that perhaps he's moving younger priests into larger parishes in order to prepare for the future.

I still haven't heard what all the changes were, or even whether there were other changes within our deanery (other than the priest in Wallingford being moved since Christ the King's pastor will now cover that parish as well). I'm not generally in the loop. My lit kids parents are and since the girls will be here tomorrow to discuss more about The Ballad of the White Horse, I may learn more about the changes then.

As a convert, I must admit, I don't totally understand the process. I came out of a tradition where the congregation chose their own pastor, and I served on search committees on a couple of occasions. The whole concept of not even knowing that you're getting a new pastor until a month before it happens is a relatively new one. It is a real example of needing to trust the bishop's fatherly care in all of this. I'm just glad we've got such a great bishop.


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