Friday, April 16, 2010

To go boldly where men have gone before...

The Archbishop of Dubuque has appointed me to a new assignment. In July, I will become pastor for St. Patrick Parish, Britt; St. Patrick Parish, Buffalo Center; St. Wenceslaus Parish, Duncan; St. James Parish, Forest City; St. Boniface Parish, Garner; and St. Patrick Parish, Lake Mills. If you're not sure where any of those towns are, look at most northern and central two counties of the state of Iowa and you'll find all of them. I'm very excited by the prospect of becoming pastor and a little overwhelmed by the Archbishop's confidence in me. I'll have the responsibility of pastoring six parishes and helping a brother priest (my associate pastor) continue his formation to become a pastor. There's a part of me that wonders if the Archbishop has made a mistake. I mean, I still make mistakes and say stupid things. Lieutenant Riker was still second-in-command to Jean-Luc Picard after like 20 years on the Enterprise. And, trust me, I'm no William T. Riker.

Thankfully, as I have done since June 22nd 2002 in the beginning of the American sexual abuse crisis, I trust in the Archbishop's statement that my own feelings of inadequacy are reminders that being a priest really isn't about me. I didn't choose to become a priest, God chose me. To put it in the words of the ordination liturgy, "Remember that you are chosen from among God's people and appointed to act for them in relation to God. Do your part in the word of Christ the Priest with genuine joy and love, and attend to the concerns of Christ before your own."

Last Sunday

I really didn't like my homily from last Sunday so I didn't put it here. It was one of those homilies that started out rough on Saturday and never really got polished in four times.

What was cool, however, was being part of a very unusual confirmation. In this diocese, we have three priests who have the title of Episcopal Vicar. They stand in the place of the Bishop for certain events like this. Monsignor Russ Bleich is one and he was supposed to confirm the kids. But, then he got sick. Laryngitis, to be specific. He couldn't talk, one of he few traits still absolutely necessary in order to celebrate mass. So, he gave the authority to the pastors here. The kids got to be confirmed by their pastor. That was very unusual and I'm sure they'll remember it for a long time.

I'm not saying that it should happen every year...maybe once every 20 years or so. It was nice to see the pastors working together in the same way that we ask the confirmation students to do so for the prayer.