Although this is my last letter as pastor of your parish, I will celebrate my last Sunday Mass here on February 25th. Today, Father Michael Thérèse becomes your pastor and you already know him well. “No worries” then, as New Zealanders often say.
For me, this “sabbatical “time that I have been granted after 27 years of non-stop apostolic life will certainly not be a time of “vacation” but a time of “vocation renewal”. For a priest, it is indeed vital to understand that “doing” many things does not necessarily make us holy. We need to search the glory of God in everything we do.
This is why Jesus invited his disciples to go away from the crowds to solitary locations, in
order to adore God in solitude and silence and to spend time meditating on His words to live in a more intimate relationship with Him. This is what I will be doing in the months to come. We will see what the Lord wants at the end of my sabbatical time through what my superiors will ask from me. We can only be at peace when we want to obey God’s will. Pray that I can say like the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Behold the servant of the Lord. May it be done
according to your words”. ?
I would like to thank you for being so welcoming over the years and for your support in many ways. I also ask forgiveness from all those I may have hurt during my time here, either through some words during homilies or in private conversation or in other ways. We priests are not perfect in everything as you know and as we know too well. We too need to go to confession regularly to receive the necessary sacramental grace without which we cannot
become holy. We too need to practice all that we preach to you from the pulpit. We too often cannot stop worrying about things in spite of prayer.
Know that the brothers pray for you every day,
specially inside your church which has become more beautiful, more silent and prayerful. For the past seven years, many of you have greatly supported my desire to transform the sanctuary so as to create a climate of reverence and of silent adoration, to truly encounter God. I hope that this intention of the great respect due to God in His house will continue to grow and to be passed on by you to new
God bless you all.