Pastor of both St. Mark and St. Mel
Beginning July 1, I will be pastor of both St. Mark Parish and St. Mel Parish.
I hope you join me in giving thanks to God for the many years of priestly service offered by Fr. Mark Fedor, and wish him a blessed and peaceful retirement. When I came to St. Mark just a few years ago, Fr. Fedor wisely guessed that when he finally reached the age of retirement at seventy-five, that the Diocese would look my way to care for both parishes. While nothing is ever certain and guesses are often wrong, I had kept that possibility in the back of my mind. Several months ago I was approached by the Diocese to give my input and thoughts, and the day after Easter I received the letter appointing me as pastor, effective July 1.
This is not a merger of parishes. Even though I will be pastor of both, they remain separate parishes with separate finances, separate pastoral councils, and separate identities. There will certainly be much more work for me, but my hope is that both communities will benefit from our circumstances. It is my belief that it will strengthen and enrich both parishes to be closer neighbors and to join with each other as friends in common prayer and shared initiatives.
Right now I have two senior priests who have agreed to help me with weekend Masses. I’ll introduce them to you when we get closer to July. They won’t be helping elsewhere in the parish and they won't be residing here, they will just be coming in for weekend Masses. At the moment my intention is to alternate my weekends at each parish, so one weekend I will have all the Masses at St. Mark and the next I will have all the Masses at St. Mel.
For the time being, you can help me the most by your prayers and your patience. Firstly - as in all things - I need your prayers because nothing we undertake should ever be without an invocation of God’s grace. For most people, their parish is the anchor in their relationship with God and so major changes to a parish is no small thing in the life of faith. But I also need your patience because it will take time for me to become familiar with St. Mel and to learn how to balance the needs of two parishes. I am grateful to be surrounded by a good staff and so many wonderful volunteers here... caring for two parishes would not be possible otherwise!
I hope to share more thoughts with you in the coming months as I start to wrap my head around this new situation, and figure out a hundred practical things behind the scenes. But again... I think many new and good possibilities are on the horizon for both parishes!