You have all been in my prayers as we have moved toward this time of transition. I am mindful that you have been saying your goodbyes to your two wonderful priests just as I have been saying goodbye to my parishioners. Transitions can be sorrowful as well as being a time of fond reminiscing and thanksgiving.
Your parish staff has already been remarkably helpful and hospitable to me. With that as an indication, even though we are unknown to one another, I am sure we will get along famously.
In our Gospel today, we hear that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” I have also seen this translated as, “He set his face like flint toward Jerusalem”.
We know this feeling. For example, those of you learning how to drive, you are learning that in order to maintain your course, it is important to keep your eyes fixed on the road farther ahead and not looking behind. This also holds true, as Jesus says today, in plowing a field; if we look back at what we have left behind we will stray off course. Jesus is asking us to be as single minded as he is.
What is our Jerusalem? What is our single minded goal? Toward what are we together resolutely turning? This is, perhaps, a worthy and fertile field for our mutual prayer and pondering. Wherever God leads us, he is our Good Shepherd and it will be a place of goodness and life.
I want to use this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself. I grew up in the town of Greece at the parish of St. Charles Borromeo. I have two older sisters and an older brother, with our mom and dad having gone to their eternal reward twenty five and twenty three years ago, respectively. I attended Cardinal Mooney High School and graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BA in Physics and certification in Secondary Education.
After college I volunteered for a year and a half at a rural Catholic mission in northeast Pennsylvania called Young People Who Care. I still go back for service weeks and you will be hearing more about that.
For two years I was a youth minister outside of Buffalo and then spent three years teaching physics at St. Francis High School, south of Buffalo. My time teaching is an important step in my becoming a priest and I will be sharing more about that as time goes by. I enjoy wood working and crafts.
I have been a priest for 21 years. I love being a priest and since the day I was ordained I have never ever wished otherwise.
I generally introduce myself as “Fr. Tim” and I prefer to be called this. However, I am pretty easy going about this and will answer to whatever makes you personally most comfortable. I was a parochial vicar for five years and a pastor for the last sixteen years (the last four at St. Alphonsus in Auburn).
I am thrilled, nervous, excited and grateful to be coming to St. Rita and am very much looking forward to making my home with you.
As we continue to pray for one another, let us also pray for peace in our world - a goodness and well-being that God can bring.
Yours in Christ,