Last evening we at the parish welcomed Monsignor James Gaston, pastor of Mother of Sorrows Church in Murrysville and the bishop's representative (the Dean) to our area for a pastoral visit. It is a part of his responsibility to meet with the pastor or priests of each parish, along with the Pastoral and Finance Councils (and we included our staff in the gathering.) It was a pleasant and productive evening of discussion and evaluation.
Msgr. Gaston and I go way back to when we served as associate pastors in our first assignment in Irwin. I repeatedly tell him that he taught me all that I know. I took him to dinner where he asked about my health and well being, my thoughts in this assignment and my needs, and we discussed my retirement when it comes in a few years as well as our newly appointed bishop and his upcoming ordination. We also discussed the parish here and the working together of the three Catholic Churches in the Norwin Catholic Community.
We came to the parish center and he met with the Councils and Staff in a productive and thought provoking discussion of our Mission Statement and of our strengths and weakness, as well as some visioning for the future. I am grateful to those in attendance for their presence and openness, and their commitment to the larger Church and to the parish. Jim emailed me this morning to thank me/us for a very good evening and meeting. These meetings do not happen often, but it truly was a good evening, and I thank Jim for his leadership.