This year in the midst of dealing with the coronavirus it will probably be more difficult if not stressful for many. When moving it is always a challenge getting to know the names and faces of the parishioners and this year it will certainly be more difficult to remember faces with everyone wearing masks. Also, the saying goodbye at one parish and being welcomed to the new assignment as well is curtailed. Farewell receptions and welcoming gatherings will not be held in the same way. Something our recent high school and college graduates have had to deal with as well. Our normal ways of socializing as a people have been greatly changes we take measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
It was six years ago that I began my assignment at Good Shepherd Catholic Community. ( If you missed the news I have been reappointed by Bishop Matano for a second term as Pastor of Good Shepherd Catholic Community). I know for myself that the transition for me when I came here was a smooth one, thanks to the support and encouragement you gave me. I do remember though how strange it was for me and the parishioners of St. Joseph Church in Penfield when I was reassigned from there to St. John the Evangelist in Newark Valley and St. Francis of Assisi in Catatonk. My new assignment wasn’t finalized until after the normal move date on the last Tuesday of June. I received the assignment right before the Fourth of July weekend which was my last weekend at the Penfield parish. Many parishioners were away for holiday weekend and when they came back the next weekend they were surprised that I was gone! Many opportunities to say goodbye were lost. That is also happening for many people now in this time of the crisis, family members go into the hospital and are unable to have visitors. When love ones end up dying in the hospital their families struggle because they cannot be with there loved ones until the end and have their chance to say their last farewell. The normal ways that we grieve have been greatly affected for us all.
As priests begin their new assignments I ask you to pray for them, as well as for Father Joseph J. Martuscello, who was ordained June 13, 2020, and will begin his first priesthood assignment as parochial vicar of Our Mother of Sorrow, Greece, and Holy Cross, Rochester. Pray also for the parish communities who will be experiencing transition in leadership. The saying goodbye to someone you know and saying hello to someone who is a stranger is not easy. But, prayer sure helps. Please pray also for those who have lost loved ones during this unusual time that God will help them through their grief and bring them comfort and that their loved one may have eternal life in God.
God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill