Once again I write to you to say “thank you” for welcoming me into your town and parish as interim administrator as you await the arrival of your new pastor. As you may remember I was here for the month of June and then returned in mid-October. I will be leaving on November 25. That is the day Fr. John Sheridan will arrive. Since Fr. Mahoney and Fr. Ronan retired on June 5th, the parishes have been in limbo. Fr. Vin Gianni was here temporarily from July 1 through mid-October. The presence of Fr. Sheridan will bring some necessary stability to the Catholic community of Charlestown. He is a wonderful person and a faith filled priest. He brings with him valuable experience, a sense of humor and a love for ministry.
Since I was the pastor at St Catherine from 1990 – 1996 your community has undergone many changes and at the same time there is a strong history and tradition that is a source of great pride. I have truly enjoyed my ministry among you as I have renewed many friendships and welcomed new people into my life. One of my greatest joys is writing columns for the weekly church bulletin. It is an opportunity to let our parishioners know who I am and hopefully add to the knowledge and understanding we have of our faith, the Church and ourselves. Many people have commented on how much they enjoy reading my thoughts because it challenges us to rethink some of the beliefs and teachings that we believed were written in stone, but can be understood in new ways that can bring us to healthier concepts of God and ourselves.
I read recently this statement from Ben Sasse who now holds political office but hopes to be a college president. “Education, properly understood, isn’t exclusively – or even primarily – about transmitting information. Education is about learning how to humbly and meaningfully engage ideas.” We as Catholic Christians, who are passionate about our faith, have the privilege of sharing our beliefs with others. We also can benefit greatly from learning about the life experiences and beliefs of those who understand God differently than we do.
The neighborhood of Charlestown and the Catholic community have had a major impact on my life. I am grateful for your affirmation and example. You are in my prayers.