June 17, 2010

Some Things I'll Miss

I'm going to feel very uprooted as I transition out of the parish ministry. Most of all, I'm going to miss the people. Never before have I had the experience of being embedded into a community, of having so many personal connections with people. Here's my mechanic; I buried his father. Here's the manager of the local pizza place; I did his wedding. Here's my friend the local cop; I prayed with her when her little brother was murdered. Here's one the local guys hanging out sketchily on the corner; I remind him of his deceased mother's concern for him.

The other night I walked the parish boundaries after supper, just trying to offer my intention of gratitude to God for the people. I run into some parish kids going into a restaurant with their mother. Then I get introduced to a dog named Simon by two parish ladies taking a walk. As I go by the local park, some of the altar girls recognize me and interrupt their softball practice to say hi.

I guess I've lived a fairly anonymous life up until now; never before have I felt like such a "public person" and a member of a community. It's a very supporting thing. One of the most striking aspects of this experience of parish ministry is that both the headaches and the support have been far more intense than anything I had experienced previously.

There are three other apostolic churches within the square mile of our parish territory: Melkite Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. I'm going to miss that too. In the winter, when the leaves are gone, there is a spot you can stand on our street and see at least a bit of all four churches. So there's a certain richness to the Christianity and the Catholicism of the neighborhood. I'm grateful for that.

5 comments:

Ad Abolendam said...

Will you be doing any parish work in the Boston area? Perhaps as a weekend assistant or priest-in-residence?

JanineD said...

I hope that you know you are and will be supported from here too :)

Brother Charles said...

AdA: Yes, I will have a weekend gig. It's still being worked out.

JD: :)

Anonymous said...

Father Charles, you will be very much missed at your current assignment, and I am happy that you will have the opportunity to remain involved in parish work. I am happy for the people who will benefit from your ministry as well.

4narnia said...

Fr. C - we will miss you, too. you have a lot of nice stories and experiences from parish ministry. it's not easy to leave a parish. something that you can take with you is the fact that you have been so very instrumental in my spiritual life and also my life in general and i'm sure others at SH feel the same way. you have showed us, by your good example, how to be more patient, humble and gentle. you have been a true brother and friend to us and for that, we are grateful. even though you will not be at the parish with us, you will always have our support, friendship and, especially, our prayers. i'm sure we'll see you from time to time. i thought that was really cool in your last paragraph that you can see a little bit of the four churches you speak about in your post. i'll have to find (or you can show me) that spot on the street where you can see the four churches. the Ukrainian festival starts tomorrow - hope you can come to some of it - i'll be singing with a group of other festival volunteers on saturday night and sunday afternoon. even though i do not read or speak ukrainian, the songs will all be in their language - i was able to learn most of all the songs we're going to sing just from our choir practices the past couple months. it should be fun. see you soon! PAX! ~tara t~