Today, I said goodbye to the parish where I have worked for the past 11 years and the pastor I have worked with for the past 14 years. It has been a long journey filled many with joys and sorrows, and many lessons have been learned. Together we watched three parishes close and together we helped bring a new parish into existence.
After I left my home parish, I never thought I would find a parish that would become as much a part of me as the parish where I grew up but over the years it became more than a workplace: it became home. Although I came here as an employee, I eventually officially joined the parish.
I pray that as I move on from this parish to my new assignment, that I will become as much at home in my new parish as I have here. I now am blessed to have two home parishes: The parish where I was raised and where my ministry began, and the parish where I spent so many years serving God and His people.
Today, I do not only leave a parish, but I also leave the diocese where I have worked for the past 17 years. Over those years, I have served in permanent and temporary positions in several parishes. Each parish and each priest has left a mark and has shaped me in ways I could not forsee. I am grateful to all those who have helped me in so many ways.
The Gospel today, particularly "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it." I have been looking for the field and the pearl and I have found them, so I go where the Lord calls me.