A Farewell Letter and Gratitude from Fr. Jedidiah Tritle
Dear friends of the Petersburg Parishes (and Greater Fryburg Metropolitan Area),
By the time this letter is published in the bulletin, my assignment here will have been concluded for a couple of weeks. However, I would be remiss to not put in writing—to the best of my ability—my immense gratitude towards all of you. When Archbishop Schnurr assigned me to the four Petersburg Parishes, I was told that this would be a “very good assignment” for me and that I would get to experience some of the best of parish life in the Archdiocese. Having been here for two years now, I can confidently say that this has been a wonderful experience of parish life. I am very grateful for the brotherhood and leadership of Fr. Sean Wilson, and it has been wonderful to meet and get to know so many of you over the last two years. I know that Fr. Willig is in very good hands here—praise God!
In particular, thank you to those who have invited me into your homes, those who have spiritually adopted me into your families, those who have helped to rehab my horrifically mangled shoulders, and those who have shown so much kindness and support to me and Fr. Sean—especially during some of the more difficult periods of the past few years. Also, thank you all so much for the kind notes, cards, and gifts at my departure. I am truly overwhelmed at your generosity and love! It brings me great consolation to know that the Petersburg Parishes—and whatever the combined parish name will be in the future—will forever be my “home” in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, even as I follow the Lord into Carmel. While I certainly couldn’t know what the Lord has in store for me in the future, I most certainly intend to visit from time to time whenever I’m given leave to visit friends and family. So, I’m sure that I will see many of you again in the future—though I might have exchanged the black cassock for a brown habit (and perhaps a new name) by that point! So, be on the lookout for that!
There have been so many wonderful opportunities to be a part of, and so many wonderful people to meet and get to know over the past two years. And, I will most certainly miss being at our four parishes. But, just as Our Lord’s invitation to pursue the Priesthood will often surprise a man and cause him to radically change his plans (as it certainly did for me), sometimes the Lord fine-tunes that call and invites that man to continue discerning God’s will in his life. In my case, the Lord has strongly put on my heart to pursue a more radical life of prayer and detachment in the Discalced Carmelite Order, and to do so in the context of a fraternal (rather than parochial) life. I am immensely grateful to enter the order of Ss. Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, Elizabeth of the Trinity, and so many others who found a home in Carmel—otherwise known as Mary’s Order. By the grace of God, I hope to find my home there as well among such exemplars of the spiritual life. Know of my continued (and increased) prayers for all of you, and please continue to pray for me. In the absence of better words to express my heartfelt gratitude, allow me to simply leave you with one of literature’s great farewells:
Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.