CHATHAM IS HOME
UNPACKING & EXPLORING
It has now been just over two months since arriving in Chatham. After nine years at St. George Parish in London I had a lot to pack and a lot to purge in the transition. There were some things that I knew I needed to take with me and there were other things that I just had to let go and even a few things that I wondered why I ever got in the first place. Change allows us to re-establish ourselves along the right path and to realign priorities that sometimes get lost in the midst of life.
Over the last 20 years of priesthood I have served in London, Wallaceburg, Goderich, then back to London and now Chatham. I am used to packing and unpacking. I don’t enjoy that aspect of change but there is excitement, hope and new beginnings when settling into a new place.
Over the last two months I have slowly unpacked many of my things and have done some more purging. I have also taken time to explore all five churches in our family and the city itself. I have driven around figuring out the streets and routes (without my GPS) looking for various landmarks and points of interest. I have also slowly gotten to know some parishioners connecting with them before and after Masses and the staff in my daily work more and more. Through the unpacking, exploring, listening and meeting I have discovered the great gift of Chatham and our family of parishes.
CHANGE IS A BLESSING BUT IT IS NOT EASY
Change is healthy and has many blessings but it also carries a lot of challenges as we have to adapt, modify and let go of many things that we are comfortable with. Change forces us to create new routines and learn new things that takes us out of our comfort zone. We know that this is the only way for us to grow and discover more about ourselves and the world but this also means that we have to let go of the things we know. We jump into the unknown and unfamiliar. That is why we can be afraid of change. Yet change also brings opportunities that we could never have imagined. As I reflect on my move to the Chatham Catholic Family of Parishes, here are some of the changes that both I and our faith community are experiencing:
(1) MEETING NEW PEOPLE
You get to know a lot of people after nine years in a parish. Now that I have come to Chatham, I get to connect with amazing people from five churches—which will take time but a great blessing!! In addition, the people of the family will get to know three new priests!
In addition to connecting with new parishioners, I along with Fr. Dariusz and Fr. Robert get to know and work with new staff members as we seek to serve all the people of Chatham.
(2) MINISTRY & OUTREACH
With each move in my priestly ministry I discover new ministries, programs and outreach that seeks to make real the Good News of the Gospel. I am constantly learning and sharing my past experiences creating even better ways to be a faithful and loving disciple in our world today. It is good to always be a lifelong learner.
As we move forward together in the next weeks, months and years as a family of parishes, we will continue to change, grow and adapt how we do things so that we remain relevant, effective and efficient signs of hope for Chatham and area. We will work together as one staff, Pastoral Council, Finance Committee and family to follow where Christ leads us.
(3) LETTING GO & LETTING GOD
One of the difficulties that we have in times of transition is that we try to hang onto the past and bring it into the present so that we can feelcomfortable and familiar. There is no question that our past experiences help shape our future endeavors that help us move forward.
My past appointments and ministry experience will help me, working together with the staff and family leadership to figure out where God wants us to go next—which means I need to let go of what I want or expect and see what God wants. This also means that what has happened in each of the parishes individually, as a cluster and as a family of parishes may change for the sake of moving forward—change creates new chances to become more faithful and loving disciples who not only live the faith personally, but seek to bring the light of God’s love in the world.
(4) FOLLOWING JESUS IS AN ADVENTURE!
Letting go and letting God requires trust, faith and an openness to new experiences. This means that our faith lives are always an adventure when we follow Jesus. One thing that we can be sure of is that He will never disappoint us or lead us astray. Jesus will always call us to share who we are and what we have with others—especially those who are in most need.
CHATHAM IS HOME
I want to again thank everyone for their warm welcome and constant support. I know that Fr. Dariusz, Fr. Robert and I truly feel at home and see the great gift of faith in the people of Chatham. May we continue to journey together where Christ calls us being faithful and loving disciples of the Good News.