[This is a slightly updated version of a note in our parish bulletin this weekend.]
Almost two years have passed since I began my ministry at Holy Family Parish here on Cape Ann. It’s been a really blessed time! This is a wonderful community, and I am very grateful for the warm welcome I have received.
As some of you know, a lot has happened in my life in the past four years. Not all of it has been as good as coming to Cape Ann. A terrible scandal came to light in my religious congregation (the Legionaries of Christ) in 2009, and since 2010 I have been working in parishes, seeking to discover the new path that God has planned for me. I have not really had time to step back and process all that has happened, and it has raised personal issues that I am still trying to work through. I have come to realize that it is not possible for me to deal with these things adequately at the same time as trying to serve the community in active ministry at a parish. I need some time without pastoral duties in order to heal and discern. As a consequence, Cardinal O’Malley has agreed to allow me to take a year off from ministry, starting in early June.
I hope that this period of leave will help me to find greater peace and clarity so that I can better carry out God’s will in my life. Another priest will take my place here at Holy Family Parish, and I hope he will love and enjoy this community as much as I do. At the end of this year I will either take a new parish assignment or explore other avenues, either inside or outside the diocese.
At first I was planning to move closer to Boston, because leaving my position at the parish means a change in my role in the community of Cape Ann, and the adjustment could be awkward. However, in the past couple of days I realized that I have such great friends and community here, and there are so many great things going on in this city, that I don’t want to leave. So, I am looking into affordable, preferably shared housing (i.e. sharing a house or apartment – hopefully with room for lots of books and origami) in Gloucester from June 2013 to June 2014, and I will be looking for light employment to help me cover my expenses.
Please keep me in your prayers!