May 05, 2019 – Feeding the Sheep

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C

On the occasion of my announcement that I had been appointed the new pastor of Assumption Parish in Bellingham.

Readings / Lecturas

St. Charles Recording / Sacred Heart Recording

Preached at St. Charles in Burlington (5:00pm, 7:00pm, 7:45am, 11:15am) and Sacred Heart in La Conner (9:30am)

English

Most people do not realize this, but a priest makes his promises of prayer, obedience, and celibacy for the first time at his deaconate ordination, which is usually a year before he is ordained a priest. The months leading up to the diaconate require a great amount of prayer, because it is the diaconate that locks a guy into the vocation for life. Thankfully, as is true for all the men who go to Mundelein seminary, I was able to spend nine weeks in the Holy Land during this crucial period of prayer, allowing me to experience some incredible intimacy with the Lord.

My most important experience in the Holy Land came on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberius, on the exact spot described in our Gospel today. As I read this Gospel, on the same beach where Jesus cooked fish and spoke with Peter, I had an inescapable feeling that Jesus was addressing these questions to me. “Do you love me?” he asked. “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you,” I replied, standing exactly where St. Peter stood. And the Lord’s response was inescapable: “Then feed my sheep.” What else could I do except submit to ordination?

It was there on the Sea of Galilee that the Lord confirmed my vocation one final time, and since that day I have never doubted that it was God who called me to the priesthood. So of course, in God’s Providence, it would be this Gospel, one of the most important and meaningful Gospels of my entire life, that I would get to read on the weekend when I have to tell you that the Archdiocese will be assigning me to a new parish on July 1st of this year. Specifically, they will be making me the administrator and, eventually, pastor of Assumption Parish in Bellingham.

I can tell you that, for a whole host of reasons, I am thrilled about being assigned to Assumption. But this is not because I have any desire to leave the Skagit Valley. The thing about feeding Jesus’ sheep is that you go wherever the chief shepherd sends you. When I got the call two years ago that I would be assigned here, I had never stepped foot in Skagit County. But I came anyway, and I realized how incredibly blessed I was to have this be my first assignment. The people here are collaborative, supportive, and loving. Priests often face a lot of resistance in their ministries, but here the feeling of a shared mission is palpable. Thank you for giving me such a beautiful start to my priesthood.

I am also able to announce today that I will be replaced by Deacon, so-to-be Father, Ben Bray, one of the three men being ordained in Seattle on June 22nd of this year. Deacon Ben is a personal friend whose energy and zeal are infectious, and you are so lucky to have him. I have no doubt that our communities will welcome and love him just as much as they have welcomed and loved me.


Though I will miss the Skagit Valley, the hardest part for me about this move is that I know that it hurts our communities to have a revolving door of priests. I have heard about this hurt from so many people over the last two years. The core of ministry is relationship, and it is painful to have to start a new relationship with a new priest every couple of years, even and especially if those priests are excellent. In a normal situation, the regular coming and going of vicars does not cause this much pain, because the pastor is a long-term, stable presence, and people are able to have their deep and meaningful relationships with him. Unfortunately, in a cluster situation, the pastor is stretched in millions of ways, so despite Fr. Martin’s and now Fr. Tom’s best efforts, our parishes feel the need to rely on their vicars for a lot of things that pastors often provide. And vicars move frequently. And the cycle of pain continues.

As much as I want to, I cannot stop the cycle; but I can let you know why it keeps happening. [With apologies to the beautiful sacramental events that we will celebrate in a few minutes] This is not going to be a feel-good homily, but please know that it is a loving homily. Because I love you, I want you to know the truth, even if it is ugly.


In 2015, our diocesan demographer published a whitepaper outlining historical trends and future challenges for our diocese, specifically in reference to the number of priests available. What struck me most was the fact that in 1995 we had 135 parishes and each of these parishes had its own pastor. Twenty years later we had grown to 146 parishes but had shrunk to 114 priests who were able to be pastors. That means that 32 of the smallest parishes in the diocese have had to cluster with larger, neighboring parishes just so that they can have a pastor. And we have three of those smaller parishes in the Skagit Valley.

The good news is that we are not alone. We are not being singled out, punished, or mismanaged. There are 29 other parishes in this diocese living the same reality. The bad news is that things are not going to get better. The demographer estimated that this gap would grow to 40 parishes without a pastor by 2025. And extra priests will not be coming the Skagit Valley. Our parishes contain about 1.6% of the total population of the Archdiocese of Seattle, which is about the percent share of available priests we currently have assigned to us, so we should expect one pastor and one or two ever-changing vicars to be the long-term reality.

Remember, vicars are not pastors for a reason, be it age, experience, or administrative capacity, and vicars will always be short-term assignments. When we rely on our vicars to be pastors, we set ourselves up for heartbreak.

I should emphasize, of course, that our present crisis involves more than just priests. The number of Catholics who go to Mass and are engaged with their faith, relative to the total population, has plummeted in the last few decades and continues to nose-dive. Our Church is shrinking and will continue to shrink as our society becomes more and more ambivalent about and hostile towards religion. Given this reality, what are we to do?


Anyone who has spoken with me about this knows that I personally support merging our communities. Considered together, our parishes have healthy Mass attendance, good volunteerism, and strong financial giving. But, like armies throughout history, we severely weaken ourselves by fighting on multiple fronts. Consider, for example, that our total budget over our four parishes is about $1.5 million annually. That number sounds huge, until we realize that we have to maintain buildings on five different campuses and we have to pay for four different sets of office staff. The same principle holds for finding liturgical coordinators or faith formation teachers. We have the generous people, but we are splitting them up four ways. And the same principle holds for the priests: having to do everything four times does not leave them very free to be present to people or enter into relationship with them. I know that merging our communities would be very difficult in the short-term, but I firmly believe it would give us an incredibly strong foundation for the difficult decades ahead.

La Conner Ending:

That said, in defense of Sacred Heart, if we are going to maintain four different communities, this parish is the model for how that can be done. Sacred Heart, to my great embarrassment as an administrator, basically runs itself. We have strong leadership in all of our ministries, we have strong financial giving that allows us to maintain our buildings and pay our staff without difficulty, and we now have an exciting parish growth process that is allowing us to prepare for the future. If something urgent comes up elsewhere, I know that I can forget about Sacred Heart for days or weeks at a time and trust that it will continue without issue. This is exactly what is necessary in a cluster situation: the priest has to be free to put his attention to where it is most needed, sometimes to address crises and sometimes to help ministries grow. Sacred Heart has allowed me to do that, and that has been a huge blessing.

Of course, this ability to self-govern and maintain our existence in a cluster comes with two potential downsides.

First, we have to be careful not to convince ourselves that priests are irrelevant to our parish. The priest, by the fact of his ordination, is entrusted with shepherding the community of the Church. When priests come in with different gifts and different ideas, it is important for our community to consider these new perspectives with an open-mind, and to give space for the priest to be a shepherd, even if he is a short-term vicar. I do not think this is a current problem in our parish, as I have personally experienced generous openness and receptivity to my ideas and challenges, but I want to name this as a potential future pitfall, so that we can continue to guard against it.

Second, I worry about how the existence of our parish affects the other parishes in the Skagit County. The economic demographics of Sacred Heart look a lot more like Bellevue than Burlington, and our parishioners possess an abundance of leadership experience. Every time I struggle to pay the bills or find leaders at St. Charles, I cannot help but wonder if this is because Sacred Heart has claimed so much of the wealth and the expertise of the area, leaving the other parishes bereft. I know most people are here because they feel at home here, and I would never begrudge someone the ability to attend a parish that inspires them, but I want us to be aware of this difficulty and consider ways we might correct it. Are we, for example, called to assist the other parishes financially? Or should we be raising up ministers at our parish that we can send out to other parishes, like missionaries, so that all of Skagit County can be as strong as our one parish? I have, for example, seen us do both of these things beautifully with the Food Bank, but the Food Bank is not the only ministry in Skagit County.


Okay, I have said what I needed to say and have given you my honest read on our present and our future. This is not my last Mass at Sacred Heart, but it is close, so I want to leave you with this: I am so grateful to God and to you for my time here. Parish priesthood does not make sense apart from the people, and it has been an incredible blessing for me that you were the first community of people I was privileged to love as a priest. May Jesus, the one, true shepherd, continue to bless us all as we strive together to feed his sheep.

St. Charles Ending:

St. Charles has an interesting opportunity in this regard. As pastor of Assumption, I will be advocating strongly for a Catholic high school to be built here in Burlington, an idea that I know many people and priests in the Northern Deanery support. If our community wanted to honor the dedication and commitment of our parishioners over so many years, while also merging with other communities for the long-term strength of Catholicism in Skagit County, we could voluntarily decide to give these buildings  to the new high school to serve as its chapel, cafeteria, and offices. Make no mistake, the demographics and societal trends are not on our side, so if we are eventually forced to merge, becoming a high school might give us a way to do so with our heads held high.


That said, I know that St. Charles has a different culture than our other parishes, and that our parishioners do not want to risk losing this culture in a merge. If, then, we want to fight for the existence of our parish, we have to undergo a radical change of culture. Even with Fr. Ben coming, we have to learn to run this parish as though we do not have a priest. What do I mean?

In general, a priest leads a community by discerning its needs and acting to address those needs, which means that the priest requires the freedom to jump into whatever aspect of parish life most demands his attention at any given time. If the greatest need is youth ministry, the priest must have the freedom to find youth ministers. If the greatest need is physical space, he must have the freedom to fundraise. The more ministries that rely on a priest in order to function, the less the priest is able to address the big-picture needs of a parish. Preaching, saying Mass, hearing confessions, and visiting the sick are all, of course, things that only a priest can do, but in addition to these responsibilities, St. Charles currently relies on me to coordinate the faith formation program, the youth group, the pastoral and finance councils, our bilingual liturgies, our liturgical coordinators, and to get involved in a lot of building maintenance issues. I am happy to serve my parish in these ways, but it limits me. If a more pressing issue presented itself, I would not have the freedom to disengage from my current ministries in order to address it.

Which means that, if we want to show that St. Charles is a sustainable community that deserves to remain a separate parish, we desperately need someone to coordinate our faith formation program, to chair our pastoral council, to facilitate communication between our liturgical ministries, to help with the youth group, and to coordinate handyman work around our buildings. If we cannot find coordinators for these roles, your priests will continue to be stretched too thin to address the many difficult challenges of the upcoming decades.

There are a few parish ministries that run themselves very well already: for example, the landscapers; the Guadalupe, Posadas, and retreat ministries; and most of our liturgical ministries. I can trust that these ministries will just happen, with or without me, and that is a huge gift. But in the next two months we need to ensure that every ministry has a plan to take care of itself, so that Fr. Ben has the freedom to live out his gifts, rather than being constrained by ministries that he is personally responsible to keep running. So: if you are already a dedicated volunteer, would you consider stepping up into a leadership role? The priest may be the shepherd of the parish, but he is far more effective with a team of sheepdogs. And if you do not currently have a ministry in our parish, would you consider giving an hour or two of your time each week to our ministries? My current volunteers are stretched thin and risk burnout. They need more support, so that they can lead. This is a team effort, and we really do need everyone on the field.


Okay, I have said what I needed to say and have given you my honest read on our present and our future. Because I love you. And because I love you, I also want to leave you with this: I am so grateful to God and to you for my time here. Parish priesthood does not make sense apart from the people, and it has been an incredible blessing for me that you were the first community of people I was privileged to love as a priest. May Jesus, the one, true shepherd, continue to bless us all as we strive together to feed his sheep.

Español

La mayoría de las personas no se dan cuenta de esto, pero un sacerdote hace sus promesas de oración, obediencia y celibato por primera vez en su ordenación de diácono, que generalmente es un año antes de que se le ordene sacerdote. Los meses previos al diaconado requieren una gran cantidad de oración, porque es el diaconado el que encierra a un hombre en la vocación de vida. Afortunadamente, como sucede con todos los hombres que asisten al seminario de Mundelein, pude pasar nueve semanas en la Tierra Santa durante este período crucial de oración, lo que me permitió experimentar una increíble intimidad con el Señor.

Mi experiencia más importante en la Tierra Santa se produjo en las orillas del Mar de Galilea, también conocido como el Mar de Tiberio, en el lugar exacto descrito en nuestro Evangelio de hoy. Mientras leía este Evangelio, en la misma playa donde Jesús cocinaba pescado y hablaba con Pedro, tuve la sensación ineludible de que Jesús me estaba dirigiendo estas preguntas. “¿Me amas?” preguntó. “Señor, tú lo sabes todo. Tú bien sabes que te quiero,” —repliqué, parado exactamente dónde estaba San Pedro. Y la respuesta del Señor fue ineludible: “Apacienta mis ovejas.” ¿Qué más podría hacer, excepto someterme a la ordenación?

Fue allí, en el Mar de Galilea, que el Señor confirmó mi vocación por última vez, y desde ese día nunca he dudado de que fue Dios quien me llamó al sacerdocio. Entonces, por supuesto, en la Providencia de Dios, sería este Evangelio, uno de los evangelios más importantes y significativos de toda mi vida, el que leería el fin de semana cuando tenga que decirle que la Arquidiócesis me asignará a una nueva parroquia el primero de julio de este año. Específicamente, me harán administrador y, eventualmente, pastor de la Asunción en Bellingham.

Puedo decirles que, por muchas razones, estoy encantado de que me asignen a Asunción. Pero esto no es porque tengo ningún deseo de dejar el Skagit Valley. Lo que pasa con apacentar a las ovejas de Jesús es que voy a donde el pastor principal me envíe. Cuando recibí la llamada hace dos años que me asignarán aquí, nunca había ido a Skagit County. Pero llegué de todos modos, y me di cuenta de lo increíblemente bendecido estoy haber tenido esta como mi primera tarea. La gente aquí es colaborativa, solidaria y amorosa. Los sacerdotes a menudo enfrentan mucha resistencia en sus ministerios, pero aquí el sentimiento de una misión compartida es palpable. Gracias por darme un hermoso comienzo para mi sacerdocio.

También puedo anunciar hoy que seré reemplazado por Diacono, el futuro Padre, Ben Bray, uno de los tres hombres que serán ordenados en Seattle el veintidós de junio de este año. El diácono Ben es un amigo personal cuya energía y celo son contagiosos, y tienen mucha suerte de tenerlo. No tengo ninguna duda de que nuestras comunidades lo recibirán y lo amarán tanto como me han recibido y amado a mí.


Aunque extrañaré el Skagit Valley, la parte más difícil para mí sobre este movimiento es que yo sé que lastima a nuestras comunidades tener una puerta giratoria de sacerdotes. He oído hablar de este dolor de tantas personas en los últimos dos años. El núcleo del ministerio es la relación, y es doloroso tener que comenzar una nueva relación con un nuevo sacerdote cada dos años, incluso y especialmente si esos sacerdotes son excelentes. En una situación normal, el ir y venir regular de los vicarios no causa tanto dolor, porque el pastor es una presencia estable a largo plazo, y las personas pueden tener relaciones profundas y significativas con él. Desafortunadamente, en una situación de un grupo de parroquias, el pastor se extiende en millones de maneras, así que a pesar de los mejores esfuerzos de Padre Martin y ahora el Padre Tom, nuestras parroquias sienten la necesidad de confiar en sus vicarios para muchas de las cosas que los pastores suelen proporcionar. Y los vicarios se mueven con frecuencia. Y el ciclo del dolor continúa.

Por mucho que quiera, no puedo parar el ciclo; pero puedo hacerlos saber por qué sigue sucediendo. Esta no será una homilía para sentirse bien, pero tengan en cuenta que es una homilía amorosa. Porque los amo, quiero que sepan la verdad, aunque sea fea.


En dos mil y quince, nuestro demógrafo diocesano publicó un informe técnico que describe las tendencias históricas y los desafíos futuros para nuestra diócesis, específicamente en referencia al número de sacerdotes disponibles. Lo que más me sorprendió fue el hecho de que en un mil y novecientos y noventa cinco teníamos un cien y treinta cinco parroquias y cada una de ellas tenía su propio pastor. Veinte años después, habíamos crecido a un cien y cuarenta y seis parroquias, pero habíamos reducido a un cien y catorce sacerdotes que podían ser pastores. Eso significa que treinta dos de las parroquias más pequeñas de la diócesis han tenido que agruparse con parroquias vecinas más grandes solo para poder tener un pastor. Y tenemos tres de esas parroquias más pequeñas en nuestro valle.

La buena noticia es que no estamos solos. No estamos siendo señalados, castigados o mal administrados. Hay otras veintinueve parroquias en esta diócesis que viven la misma realidad. La mala noticia es que las cosas no van a mejorar. El demógrafo estimó que esta brecha aumentaría a cuarenta parroquias sin pastor para el dos mil y veinticinco. Y los sacerdotes adicionales no vendrán al Valle. Nuestras parroquias contienen aproximadamente el uno punto seis por ciento de la población total de la Arquidiócesis de Seattle, que es aproximadamente el porcentaje de sacerdotes disponibles que tenemos actualmente asignados, por lo que debemos esperar que un pastor y uno o dos vicarios constantemente cambiantes sean la realidad a largo plazo.

Recuerde, los vicarios no son pastores por una razón, ya sea por edad, experiencia o capacidad administrativa, y los vicarios siempre serán asignaciones de corto plazo. Cuando dependemos de nuestros vicarios para que sean pastores, nos preparamos para la angustia.

Debo enfatizar, por supuesto, que nuestra crisis actual involucra más que solo sacerdotes. El número de católicos que van a misa y están comprometidos con su fe, en relación con la población total, se ha desplomado en las últimas décadas y continúa cayendo en picado. Nuestra Iglesia se está reduciendo y seguirá reduciéndose a medida que nuestra sociedad se vuelva más y más ambivalente y hostil hacia la religión. Ante esta realidad, ¿qué vamos a hacer?


Cualquiera que haya hablado conmigo sobre esto sabe que yo personalmente apoyo la fusión de nuestras comunidades. Consideradas juntas, nuestras parroquias tienen buena asistencia a la misa, buen voluntariado y donaciones financieras sólidas. Pero, como ejércitos a lo largo de la historia, nos debilitamos severamente luchando en múltiples frentes. Considere, por ejemplo, que nuestro presupuesto total para nuestras cuatro parroquias es de aproximadamente un millón y media dólares por año. Ese número suena enorme, hasta que nos damos cuenta de que tenemos que mantener los edificios en cinco lugares diferentes y tenemos que pagar por cuatro grupos diferentes de personal de oficina. El mismo principio es válido para encontrar coordinadores litúrgicos o maestros de formación en la fe. Tenemos personas generosas, pero las estamos dividiendo de cuatro maneras. Y el mismo principio es válido para los sacerdotes: tener que hacer todo cuatro veces no los deja muy libres para estar presentes ante las personas o para entablar una relación con ellos. Yo sé que fusionar nuestras comunidades sería muy difícil a corto plazo, pero creo firmemente que nos daría una base increíblemente sólida para las difíciles décadas que nos esperan.

San Carlos tiene una oportunidad interesante en este sentido. Como pastor de Asunción, abogaré firmemente para que se construya una escuela secundaria católica aquí en Burlington, una idea de que conozco a muchas personas y sacerdotes en el área de apoyo. Si nuestra comunidad quisiera honrar la dedicación y el compromiso de nuestros feligreses durante tantos años, y al mismo tiempo fusionarnos con otras comunidades para lograr la fortaleza a largo plazo del catolicismo en el Skagit Valley, podríamos decidir voluntariamente entregar estos edificios a la nueva escuela secundaria para servir como la capilla, cafetería y oficinas. No se equivoquen, las tendencias demográficas y sociales no están de nuestro lado, por lo que, si finalmente nos vemos obligados a fusionarnos, convertirnos en una escuela secundaria podría darnos una manera de hacerlo con la cabeza bien alta.


Dicho esto, yo sé que San Carlos tiene una cultura diferente a nuestras otras parroquias y que nuestros feligreses no quieren arriesgarse a perder esta cultura en una fusión. Si, entonces, queremos luchar por la existencia de nuestra parroquia, tenemos que experimentar un cambio radical de cultura. Incluso con el Padre Ben viene, tenemos que aprender a dirigir esta parroquia como si no tuviéramos un sacerdote. ¿Qué quiero decir?

En general, un sacerdote dirige una comunidad al discernir sus necesidades y actuar para atender esas necesidades, lo que significa que el sacerdote requiere la libertad para saltar a cualquier aspecto de la vida parroquial que más le llame la atención en un momento dado. Si la mayor necesidad es el ministerio juvenil, el sacerdote debe tener la libertad de encontrar ministros juveniles. Si la mayor necesidad es el espacio físico, él debe tener la libertad de recaudar fondos. Cuantos más ministerios dependan de un sacerdote para funcionar, menos podrá el sacerdote abordar las necesidades generales de una parroquia. Predicar, decir misa, escuchar confesiones y visitar a los enfermos son, por supuesto, cosas que solo un sacerdote puede hacer, pero además de estas responsabilidades, San Carlos actualmente confía en mí para coordinar el programa de formación en la fe, el grupo de jóvenes, los consejos pastorales y financieros, nuestras liturgias bilingües, nuestros coordinadores litúrgicos, y para involucrarme en muchos asuntos relacionados con el mantenimiento de edificios. Estoy feliz de servir a mi parroquia de esta manera, pero me limita. Si se presentara un problema más apremiante, no tendría la libertad de desconectarme de mis ministerios actuales para poder resolverlo.

Lo que significa que, si queremos mostrar que San Carlos es una comunidad sostenible que merece seguir siendo una parroquia separada, necesitamos desesperadamente que alguien coordine nuestro programa de formación en la fe, que alguien presida nuestro consejo pastoral, que alguien facilita la comunicación entre nuestros ministerios litúrgicos, que alguien ayuda con el grupo de jóvenes y que alguien coordina el trabajo de personal de mantenimiento alrededor de nuestros edificios. Si no podemos encontrar coordinadores para estos papeles, sus sacerdotes continuarán estando demasiado estirados para enfrentar los muchos desafíos difíciles de las próximas décadas.

Hay algunos ministerios parroquiales que funcionan muy bien: por ejemplo, los paisajistas; los ministerios de Guadalupe, Posadas y retiro; y la mayoría de nuestros ministerios litúrgicos. Puedo confiar en que estos ministerios simplemente sucederán, conmigo o sin mí, y eso es un gran regalo. Pero en los próximos dos meses debemos asegurarnos de que cada ministerio tenga un plan para cuidarse solo, para que el Padre Ben tiene la libertad de vivir sus dones, en lugar de estar constreñido por los ministerios de los cuales él es personalmente responsable de seguir funcionando. Entonces: si ya eres un voluntario dedicado, ¿considerarías asumir un papel de liderazgo? El sacerdote puede ser el pastor de la parroquia, pero es mucho más efectivo con un equipo de perros pastores. Y si actualmente no tiene un ministerio en nuestra parroquia, ¿consideraría dedicar una o dos horas cada semana a nuestros ministerios? Mis voluntarios actuales están delgados y corren el riesgo de agotarse. Necesitan más apoyo, para que puedan liderar. Este es un esfuerzo de equipo, y realmente necesitamos a todos en el campo.


Bien, he dicho lo que necesitaba decir y los he dado mi evaluación honesta sobre nuestro presente y nuestro futuro. Porque los amo. Y porque los amo, también quiero dejarlos con esto: Estoy muy agradecido a Dios y a ustedes por mi tiempo aquí. El sacerdocio parroquial no tiene sentido aparte de la gente, y ha sido una bendición increíble para mí que usted fuera la primera comunidad de personas a las que tuve el privilegio de amar como sacerdote. Que Jesús, el único y verdadero pastor, continúe bendecirnos mientras nos esforzamos juntos por alimentar a sus ovejas.

Featured Image

From the archives of the Maronite Diocese of Cyprus, originally posted here, higher quality version found here.

One thought on “May 05, 2019 – Feeding the Sheep

  1. I read your homily and I had an enormous brainstorm. I have been praying so much to Jesus to reveal to me why am I here in the Skagit Valley. How can I use my best talents and resources to well, as you say, “feed the sheep”. “Evangelize”. “Grow Catholicism – one Fire style”!

    There isn’t an idea you are hinting at that I have not been in some conversation. Whether telling Gwen Rodrigues, I’d love to start a Digital / Physical Catholic High School, to talking to Colleen Fisher about a Communication Director for the Skagit Valley Diocese, to co-joining faith formation groups with Joe (extending our work into St. Charles), to working with the pastoral council(s) and getting them to do the ME 25 so we can begin our spiritual merge with Denny (who has met me there so many times). And now, you homily, right when I get back from an Alpha Group on Prayer. Couple that we our Sacred Heart group has a reason to engage: we have just completed the ME 25 and we are about ready to write an Member Engagement Plan. And we need a BIG idea.

    How appropriate to go bigger, to extend our flock by creating a Bi-Church. We break out a new idea. An ME 25++.

    So, https://skagitcatholic.sharepoint.com/:w:/r/sites/SHPastoralCouncil/Shared%20Documents/Idea%20Generation%20for%20St%20Charles%20and%20Sacred%20Heart.docx?d=w0bde1dd97390408889bd05fbac0f550d&csf=1&e=Yk9Q6K is the link. Perhaps it will take us somewhere, perhaps not.

    Don’t know if this is pie in the sky, or just the meanderings of a madman. But, it sure has me wondering how all of my talents could be used here. Something like a coincidence, but maybe a delusion. Whatever it is between reason and revelation trying exists, they just can’t be in disagreement (St. Thomas Aquinas).

    Think about this too, I speak Spanish fluently, I lived in Guadalajra, Mexico in high school, living in Barcelona Spain as a college student. I sort of have been energizing the troops on action, I write furiously, I love technology, I have developed a reputation across all the churches. Heck I even love kids.

    So, help me Father Moore, help me think this through. Perhaps there is something here, I need a priest to help me unpack. Perhaps this is the answer to my question to our next vicar, your friend. Perhaps it’s lunacy, a need to achieve again.

    Or just go to Bellingham and enjoy that awesome city. You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO fortunate. Congratulations. You really deserve this new level of responsibility and future direction.

    You have truly inspired me. Now, back to work.

    Ran

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