I would like to begin my homily with some news today. Last Tuesday, I received word that I am being transferred this July to be the administrator of St. Joseph’s Parish in Shelbyville and sacramental minister at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, also in Shelbyville. I have to tell you that, when I go the call, my first question was: “But who will come to OLG?” Hang tight, I’ll answer that in a minute. My second question was, “Are there donuts after Masses in Shelbyville?”
But you should know that I love this parish with all my heart. I feel like we are a family here. It will be hard to leave. I look out each day at Mass and think, “I remember that baby’s baptism,” or, “I remember burying her husband,” or, “I remember going to their house and playing basketball with that kid,” or, “I remember her last day of 8th grade.” It has been an incredible journey with you and I will miss you something crazy. Winnie the Pooh said, “How glad I am to have something so special that will make saying goodbye so hard.” Amen. But fortunately, today is not goodbye. I have a month to get that all put together. I am here through July 4. Then I will depart.
I am excited for Shelbyville. They have my favorite things–beautiful churches, great people, Hispanic community, and a great school. I accept this assignment happily, because I know it to be God’s holy will. Who knows what lies ahead there? God does! He has a beautiful plan–for Shelbyville, for my priesthood, for this parish, for everything. I firmly believe that God sends us the priest we need when we need him. Shelbyville needs me now, and that’s not a proud thing to say at all. Because I also say this: now you need my successor here. That will be Fr. Tony Hollowell. He is a wonderful priest and you will love him dearly. He has lots of energy and he is a holy man. This parish will be blessed to have him working together with Msgr Mark. As Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, God never leaves us orphans.
There are several other changes this year. They will be published in the Criterion this coming Friday. Even without a bishop, the personnel committee continues to meet and make suggestions and appointments. Msgr. Stumpf, the administrator of the diocese, signs off on them. But, as always, it is the Holy Spirit who is ultimately behind all the changes. That’s the explanation of my hope that St. Paul says in our second reading that we must always have. My hope is in the fact that the Good Lord Jesus is in control of everything and sends his Spirit to take care of it all, and being the Good Shepherd, he guides us always where he calls us to go. He is the one that makes the assignments and helps people fulfill them well.
And that has been the case since the founding of the Holy Church! Today’s first reading tells us about Phillip and his new assignment. He has been given a new mission, a transfer to Samaria. Until now he’d been in Jerusalem, some 115 miles away. Now God had something new in store. Peter and John are then sent to Jerusalem to help fill the void he left behind. I’d like to say it would take two people to take my place here….but apparently not….
Our school’s motto this year is “God is on the move.” God is always on the move, and he puts his people on the move, too. Look at the scriptures….today’s and all of them….he is always moving people from one place to another, pinging them from this place to that place, calling them to new lands and new missions. Inasmuch as we remain in God (as our Gospel tells us today that we must!), we are on the move–whether physically or in some other way–together with God….who is always on the move. We’ve had our 8th grade graduation on Friday. God has taken them from here and now gives them a new chapter, a new assignment, a new place in life. We also had our Preschool graduation on Friday (I gave the invocation:)) and Kindergarten graduation on Tuesday. God prepares us and sends us off.
I’ve got a month to say thank you for how much love you have given me here these past two years. I will use it well. Let us pray for each other!