In our Diocese, the beginning of June marks the normal transition time for a priest to take on a new assignment. Now ,it is the mind of the Church that priests do not change assignments too frequently as stability is a key element to a successful parish. A priest is called a father because he cares and serves the spiritual needs of his people in a stable manner as a father does his children. One of the most praiseworthy traits of one's fathers to know that he is there. A father's faithful presence gives a child the security he or she needs to have the freedom to grow. In analogous sense, priestly pastoral assignments are presumptively permanent in character according to canon law. Canon law uses the word permanent to mean stable.
Unfortunately, the long-standing stable character of a priestly assignment does not hold for parochial vicars, better known as associate pastors. One of the reasons that parochial vicars do not receive more permanent types of assignments is that they are being prepared to be assigned as pastors when they will take on more long-standing assignments.
Although a parochial vicar normally serves a parish for only two to three years, the fatherly relationship with a parish still occurs. The people of the parish draw close to the priest and become familiar with him calling him, father. I know that this a fact as many people have shared with me their sadness at the reassignment of Fr.Green to St.Francis of Assisi church. People have shared the many ways that he has touched their lives through preaching and other forms of priestly ministry. Fr.Green will certainly be missed by all of us.
The sadness of a priest move is a two way street. The people grieve the loss of the priest and the priest grieves the loss of his people. I remember my first assignment as a priest. I was assigned to Blessed Sacrament and after two years was called by the diocesan administrator to serve at Cathedral. Young priests are always excited for new adventures and I was excited to move to Cathedral. I had a great experience oat Blessed Sacrament and would miss the people, buy, hey, parochial vicars are alwyas on the move. Consequently, I was dumbfounded a couple weeks after leaving Blessed Sacrament as I sat in my room at the St. Mary's Cathedral and broke down and wept. Keep in mind that I am not a crier. :-) I was missing the people to who I had served over the past two years at Blessed Sacrament it was "God moment," as Deacon Evans would say, when I realized that i was grieving as a father separated from his children.
As Fr.Green moves to St.Francis of Assisi parish and joins our former parochial vicar, Fr.Max Blitz, we are sad for a reason. A father is moving on. Let us not forget to remember Fr.Green in our prayers as he also grieves over leaving his people. He has indeed been a blessing to this parish.
That being said, I won't miss his dog, Hobbes, too much :-)
Ad majorem ei gloriam,
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