It’s been almost exactly a year since I arrived to Newburgh on July 14, 2010, to start working at St Patrick’s Parish and Our Lady of the Lake. It’s been an exciting year! After 19 years living in the community of the Legionaries of Christ and working almost exclusively in an academic environment, starting my parish ministry has been a very new and rewarding experience. I have learned a lot, and grown a lot in different ways (although, to my surprise, not in my waistline, despite all the delicious food that parishioners have brought us). I have been welcomed and befriended by the wonderful people of this parish, starting with the pastor, Fr Fernando Hernández, who has been a real godsend in helping me to learn the ropes of parish life.
One of the things that I have come to realize over this year is the importance of being close to my family. When I was in religious life, there were fairly strict limits put on my interaction with my parents and siblings, and although that was difficult, it was part of the commitment I had knowingly made upon joining the community of the Legionaries of Christ. It was also made easier by the family atmosphere of community life. Now I am transitioning to diocesan life, leaving behind both the regulations and the support of my former religious community.
In addition, my parents are not getting any younger, and they are being affected by the standard health problems brought on by age. As a result, for their sake and my own, I feel a need to be closer than I am now (which is several hours away by car). So, after much thought and prayer, I have applied to begin the process of incardination in the archdiocese of Boston, considerably closer to home. They have received my petition and responded generously. It looks like I will start my ministry in a parish there sometime next month (the exact date is still uncertain).
I am sorry to leave Newburgh after only a year; I love the parish community here, and this geographical area and the state of New York in general is gifted in its human, cultural, historical, and natural resources. I have many friends here whom I hope to come back to visit from time to time. However, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the family concerns mentioned above, I believe that now is the time for me to move on.
My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone here in Newburgh, for welcoming me into the community and your families! I will savor every day that I have left here and keep you in my prayers in the future. Please pray for me too, and for the fruit of my future ministry!