Hello! This is my first letter to you from your new pastor!
At my last parishes, I was accustomed to writing a letter for the bulletin each week. I hope that you will not mind if I continue the practice here at St. Thomas More.
Change is usually not easy for any of us because it can cause a disruption in one’s routine, create an unfamiliar situation, and may necessitate certain adaptations. As a priest ordained thirty years, I have had to move and change assignments quite a few times: from National Park to Hammonton, to East Vineland, to Vineland, to Buena Borough, to Somers Point, to Woodbury and now to Cherry Hill. In each instance, the change involved leaving certain familiar circumstances and people whom I loved and cared for, to meet new people and face new challenges. Each experience has contributed, I hope, to making me a better person and more compassionate priest.
Let me tell you something about myself. I was born in Philadelphia but my parents bought property in Wildwood when I was just two years old and my family subsequently moved. I am the oldest of five children, four boys and a girl. My father is deceased and my mother still lives at the shore.
I attended St. Ann’s School and Wildwood Catholic High School. After high school, I entered the seminary and attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (Philadelphia) for college. My next four years were spent at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.
I have spent twenty years educating high school students—six years at St. Joseph High School, Hammonton and 14 years at Sacred Heart High School, Vineland.
Typically, people have two regular questions about me. 1) What is your origin of your last name? I am frequently told that it appears Japanese. Then they meet me and see that I stand six feet six inches tall and hardly look Asian. My heritage is Polish-American and my name is most easily pronounced two letters at a time: Na-mi-ot-ka (Na-MEE-ot-ka). 2) Did you play basketball? Yes, I played in my younger days but I was never really that good. Unfortunately, height does not equal talent.
As I take on this new assignment I have a couple of requests of you, my parishioners. First, please pray for me! I will certainly need your prayers and support as I begin this new chapter of my life. Next, please be patient as I try to learn the rhythm and personality of the parish. Every parish is different and it takes some time for a pastor to become to become familiar with its unique character and challenges.
What I can promise you is that I will work hard, pray for you each day, take my priestly calling (vocation) very seriously and attempt to leave St. Thomas More a better place because of my being here. With the grace and mercy of God, I hope that we will all grow in holiness together. Throughout my life I have sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help me follow whatever God’s will is for my life. I invite you to do the same. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
(What I write each week will be posted on my web site: www.fr-ed-namiotka.com with a link from the parish web.)
I look forward to meeting all of you over time!
Fr. Ed Namiotka