A Change in the Pastor Change

A Note from Father Tom:

I expect you’ve all tossed rocks in ponds and watched the ripples move out from that impact point. The Coronavirus pandemic has been that rock, bringing changes to our world, and to within our homes.

Those changes found our parish this past weekend. They will result in Fr. Paul not being the one who assumes the responsibility of pastoring St. Joseph the Worker on July 14. Instead, it will be Fr. Jim Goerend accepting that role.

Last weekend, Archbishop Jackels saw that with the rising pandemic impact, Italy was not opening soon to visitors from the US. PLOP went the rock! That would prevent a priest from beginning graduate studies in Rome, so he stays in his current assignment; Fr. Jim Goerend no longer could move there; and was now available. Fr. Paul’s doctorate in Canon Law qualified him for a role filled by a priest 90 miles away in Waterloo. Fr. Paul could fill that role if a pastor was available for St. Joseph the Worker—and now there was.  

The Archbishop called these good priests to ask them to accept this series of changes in their assignments. Formed in trusting that the Holy Spirit was guiding their lives by the needs of the Church and the ministry of the Archbishop, they each generously said yes.

It’s a beautiful fruit of their faith and vocation: a fruit that any of us can bear in the contexts of our own vocations! If we are praying for God’s gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love, we too can turn on a dime, desiring always first to respond to God. There is nothing slavish nor immature about this graced obedience!  Is it not a cause for reflection that these days of celebrating national independence, held this beautiful unfolding of personal independence from self-concern? All for love of Jesus and His Body, the Church.

Fr. Jim lived with me for 5 months when in seminary. He is a warm, thoughtful, prayerful man of God. Here shares a bit about himself here. You can also go to https://www.thewitnessonline.org/vocations/answering-call-later-former-teacher-honored-to-serve-as-priest/ to read his pre-ordination article in The Witness from last spring to learn more about him. I think you are going to enjoy Fr. Goerend immensely!

If you are feeling a bit of “whiplash” or instability around all of this, it’s understandable. One reaction can be to focus on that. Another response is to place yourselves, your parish, and any unease all the more firmly in the Lord’s hands. Maybe comfort and complacency are the real challenge to finding Christ’s peace. It’s to be found where the Holy Spirit is, and the Spirit, says Jesus “blows where He will.”

My prayers remain with you, Fr. Jim, and Fr. Paul in this time of graced transition.

Fr. Tom

A Change of Plans

Read Fr. Paul’s farewell letter here.

Read Fr. Jim’s introduction here.

If you have any questions about this unique situation, call the Parish Office at 563-588-1433

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