October 14, 2018 – Pastoral Impressions by Fr. Bill

On April 28, 2018, we announced the new groupings of all of the parishes in the Diocese, saying that the implementation date would be October 15, 2018, six months away! That time has passed so quickly and here we are today facing implementation of ON MISSION FOR THE CHURCH ALIVE!. That means that in many cases priests around the Diocese will be moving on to shepherd new flocks. I am one of them (unfortunately!) Over the forty-nine years of my priesthood, there have been a number of times to experience this phenomenon. Never has it been easy and never has it been something I looked forward to. It is always a time when I have to change my routine, make efforts to meet new parishioners and make new beginnings, and say goodbye to old routines and people.
It is also a time to leave a part of oneself behind and to put distance between new friendships gained and the comfort of working with wonderful people. Though I am only going to about twenty minutes away, the daily contact and working with people who know your likes and dislikes, your idiosyncrasies and foibles is interrupted and you have to let new people begin to learn these things as I have to get to know them in others. But change should always help us grow and to be better persons.
As I will not get to speak personally with every parishioner, I take this opportunity to thank the entire parish for the joy that you have been to me over the years. We have not been able to accomplish all the projects and hopes that I had for St. Damien’s, but circumstances and time have not allowed for this to happen. Hopefully many of these things will be accomplished by the new pastoral team and the new Parish grouping. I can only offer my thanks to all who have contributed there time, energy, treasures and talents for this parish of St Damien. I will not single out individuals or groups because the page does not allow that to occur and I would definitely forget someone. Just know that I have appreciated and been blessed by so many wonderful people. I hope that you will continue to give of yourselves to the new team and the new grouping so that you can grow this mid-Mon Valley parish and grow the church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! And GOD BLESS YOU ALL! Please keep me in your prayers as I will all of you!

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