Saturday afternoon the priests of the Diocese of Greensburg received the listing of the Clergy Assignments for June. Twenty-three of our sixty-seven men in active ministry are experiencing a transfer or job change or addition. That is a third of the presbyterate. Some will welcome the move, many will accept in obedience, but I'm sure some will be upset at being transferred from where they have been ministering. Three of our men are retiring. They are not included in the twenty-three. This kind of a shake-up is a difficult time of transition for priests and for parishioners. I am extremely grateful that my name and those in our immediate area were not on the list. Recently I was asked a series of questions by the staff person of the Diocesan Web Page where I periodically do a Scripture Reflection - you know ... getting to know the writer. The first question was "What do you fear the most?" My answer took no time at all to come up with. I said "A call from the bishop's office during assignment time." This time my fears were relieved. May they continue to be.
These assignments piggy back on the restructuring announced by Bishop Brandt in May and commented on in Journey Thoughts on May 6th. At that time it was announced that on June 25th of this year there will be one new parish in two worship sites in one of our counties (the merger of six smaller parishes), 8 parishes closed, six will be partnered (one priest serving two or more churches). This will reduce the number of parishes from 85 to 78, with 16 partnerings of parishes (44%).
This is a major time of change for this small but special diocese. I would ask your prayers for the people and the priests involved in these changes. I would ask that the Lord give generous portions of peace and understanding, appreciation for what has been and confident hope for what must happen, to His holy people.
This morning following Mass I noticed this pesky flea in the peripheral vision of my left eye. It was not a flea, but a floater in my eye. I went to the eye doctor and all is well, nothing serious, no pain or damage ... just annoying as .... ! Acknowledging that the alternative is much worse, this getting older thing is not what it is cracked up to be!