Each diocese may be different, but in the Greensburg diocese, if the need arises, there may be transfers made twice a year. We do not have a term policy, which means that theoretically you could be moved at anytime. Common practice has a usually longer stay in one place. Those transfer times are terrible moments within the life of a priest.
I mention this because in today's edition of our diocesan newspaper, THE CATHOLIC ACCENT, a list of priest transfers and appointments is printed. It involves 19 diocesan priests: 12 pastor changes, 2 parochial vicars, one special assignment, two retirements, one chaplaincy and one leave of absence. With a great sigh of relief, my name is not among those listed. THANK GOD! These men work hard at ministry to the people of God, and I ask your prayers for them in this time of transition. I also ask your prayers for the parishioners who also undergo this adjustment in their spiritual journey. It is never easy. I ask your prayers for the priest who has been granted a leave of absence. He is a friend, and has served very well for over thirty years in parishes throughout the diocese. We, the priests, received the list about a week ago, and the changes are effective on March 8th.
My reflection on this time of transition is this: There has to be a better way of making necessary changes. Having served briefly on the Personnel Board years ago, I know how impossible it is to make the recommendations and meet all the needs. I also know how unfair it is that there is no consultation - with the priests involved or the parishes involved. You get a call to come in for an appointment where you are told where you will go. Usually you have about three weeks to make the move - closing up things, saying good-bye, packing, seeing the new place, moving, settling in. Difficult at best, traumatic at worst. Never easy.
This is my eighth assignment in 39 years, and hopefully my last before retirement [ from this page to God's ears ]. I was never ready for a change, but found each to eventually be a true blessing. I made the transitions because I had made a promise of obedience to Bishop Connare and his successors on my ordination day. God has blessed me in the fulfillment of that promise. May he do so with the priests caught up in our most recent changes.
PRAY FOR PRIESTS EVERYWHERE!