This weekend is Fr. Jedidiah’s last weekend assigned to our parishes. You may see him from time to time over the next couple of weeks before he leaves for the Discalced Carmelites in Wisconsin. Essentially, though, we are saying farewell to him this weekend.
Personally, I am extremely grateful for his two years in our parishes. These past couple of years have been a blessing. It is noticeable how seriously he takes his own journey with God. He is a man dedicated to prayer and his own conversion. There are many times that his own example has convicted me to dive deeper into my own life of prayer and penance.
I think he has had this effect on our parishioners as well. A couple weeks back, I was speaking with a parishioner who was complimenting Fr. Jedidiah’s homilies. He said that it often felt like an examination of conscience. Fr. Jedidiah’s homilies gave this parishioner the opportunity to examine his life, motivations, and shortcomings in a new way.
I’m especially grateful for his companionship during a unique time in our parishes. When he arrived in July 2020, we had only had 5 weeks of public Masses since the pandemic shut down. Then there were all the different aspects of social distancing in the pews, mask wearing, and sanitation. Six months after he arrived, we adjusted the Sunday Mass schedule because we had not been celebrating Mass in our smaller Church buildings for social distancing reasons. He has seen staff changes and the launch of the Beacons of Light initiative. It has been quite the time to be a priest in our Archdiocese.
In the midst of these transitions, we would both like to thank you for your kindness, support, and thoughtfulness. So many of you have written nice notes. Thank you for the cards for our ordination anniversaries and Fathers’ Day. We are grateful for all the kind words when our paths cross or the occasional hug after Mass. It is truly a blessing to serve these four parishes with so many people making the walk toward becoming saints.
This upcoming week will also be one to remember. Our Mass schedule adjustments take effect on Friday, July 1 and Fr. Michael Willig arrives this week. Concerning the Mass schedule, it will probably take a few weeks (or maybe months) for things to smooth out and regularize. I am so grateful for your willingness to give it a shot and see where things go. I’m excited for our parishes and the possibilities that the Lord has for us.
Any time that there are transitions difficulties can arise. We will miss Fr. Jedidiah and his presence amongst our parishioners, his thought-provoking homilies, and wisdom in the confessional. In addition, the Mass time adjustments can be difficult. In my own experience of going through transitions, it seems helpful to prayerfully identify the loss that I am experiencing. One of the losses that I experienced was during the transition from being the parochial vicar to the pastor. I felt like I lost my identity. I arrived as the exciting young priest with lots of energy. I’m still relatively young, but things are different. I’ve had to accept a different identity and role. That has been a loss, but the Lord’s grace and mercy has transformed it into something beautiful. His mercy has shown through that loss and has allowed me to grow up and mature quite a bit over these last four years.
Let us continue to pray for Fr. Jedidiah as he makes a dramatic transition, entering the Discalced Carmelites. Let us continue to pray for our parishes that they may help all people to become saints. Finally, let us pray for Fr. Michael Willig, who begins his priestly ministry in our parishes this week.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson