I think that you are probably wondering why I am being transferred after only three years as pastor at Holy Angels Parish. Let me fill you in with the details.
Approximately three weeks ago, Bishop Sullivan requested me to come and meet with him at his residence. When I talked with him, he asked me to become pastor at St. Thomas More Church in Cherry Hill, NJ. Needless to say, I was shocked. I had not requested a change or put in for a transfer. I was in the midst of a number of projects, including the move to a new parish office building across the street from St. Patrick Church and the rectory.
I asked Bishop Sullivan if I could pray about the situation he had proposed and I would then present any objections that I could think of for his consideration. This I did. He then asked if he could take my objections and concerns to prayer himself. When we met again, he still requested that I make the move.
One of the bishop’s major concerns was my health and well-being. He knew that I had a heart attack a few months after arriving here. Moreover, there is considerable responsibility (and stress) attached to this parish, including three worship locations and eight Masses each weekend, the operation of a school, numerous facilities for the elderly, etc. He said the assignment I would be going to would reduce the stress in my life. He thought that it was in my best interest to go.
That night, I went before the Blessed Sacrament telling the Lord that I wanted to do whatever He wants. Obviously, I was going to be changed and if He did not want this to happen, then He would have to do something to prevent it from happening.
Initially, I was upset by the sudden change. Again, I did not ask for it nor did I expect it. However, I am at peace knowing that I took it to prayer and told the Lord that I would do whatever He wanted.
You have heard me preach about the brevity of our lives here on this earth. While I genuinely love and grow fond of the people whom I am asked to be a pastor over, I know that nothing lasts forever in this world. Change comes to us all at one time or another. I am simply grateful for the time (albeit brief) that I have been given at Holy Angels Parish.
For the next few weeks, I will try to absorb and reflect on the many blessings I have received while I was here. Hopefully, I contributed a little to your spiritual growth and well-being. I know my experience here has had a profound impact on my life as a priest. I am most grateful to God and to you for my time here.
May we continue to pray for each other and support one another.
Fr. Ed Namiotka