Announcement made at this weekend's Masses:
One thing that we can always count on for certain is that things change. Our bodies change from the time we are born to our later years, our understanding of life changes as we grow older, we change jobs, we change our residences etc. Our diocese has gone through many changes over the years and most recently we have seen some significant changes and St. Joan of Arc Parish has experienced some of those changes.
Last June, as you know I returned to St. Joan of Arc as Pastor. During these months, I have come to realize with the Personnel Board and our Bishop that the needs in especially big parishes are very different than they were 30 years ago when priests were pastors and worked in the office. Likewise, the needs of the diocese have changed over these 30 years. As I review these past months, it is clear to me that St. Joan of Arc really needs and should have at least 3 full time priests. Because of the situation in our diocese now, that full time pastor cannot be me. Within the next few weeks you will hear that St. Joan of Arc Parish will be among the list of those parishes needing a pastor. This year is another very difficult year for us in the diocese. As you know Fr. Ogden’s death was unexpected, Fr. Schmalhofer’s retirement due to health issues was unexpected and most recently Fr. Messner’s accident in Lancaster was of course unexpected and there are a number of other issues with health etc. that we need to address. These issues and concerns are causing another round of sacrifices for our priests and the people in our parishes.
It has been a joy to serve the people of the parish those first nine years and it has been a joy to have returned. Because it has been a joy and the people here are so good, I want to see that goodness continue to grow and prosper, but there needs to be three full time priests along with our deacon and the good staff we have in the parish and school to serve the parish well.
Please know of my gratitude in the ways you have witnessed your faith to me, and in how we together have contributed to the building up of God's Kingdom here in Hershey. It is my regret that I will not be here to be part of the continued growth of the parish, but because you are so rooted in your faith in Jesus I know that you will continue to grow as a parish community.
Thanks for all that you have been to me. I will take many blessed memories with me. Please pray for our Bishop and the Personnel Board as we work on decisions regarding priestly appointments.
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