Thank you for your kind attention last week with regard to the important announcement that Fr. Jean and I made regarding the transfer and appointment of Fr. Carter. I hope you will join us on Sunday, September 11, when a farewell celebration is planned for Fr. Carter, to thank him for his great priestly ministry and to offer him our good wishes as he assumes the pastoral care of the people of Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune. A reception will follow the 11:00 AM Mass in the church hall of Our Lady of Sorrows.
This sudden and unexpected change will certainly affect areas of our pastoral life—those ministries or activities for which Fr. Carter has been responsible—as well as our Mass Schedule. If has been said that there are two things that are most stressful for parish life: the change of a pastor and the the change of a Mass schedule. I think we can all agree on that! I am working in concert with our deacons, staff, and parish leaders to develop a schedule that will be as undisruptive as possible. Decisions will be made considering the following: services are at two churches; the seating capacity of our churches; the trends in attendance; and the fact that in emergencies, illness, or vacation, all Masses may have to be celebrated by one priest. I hasten to add that our schedule must take into account Canon Law, which limits the number of Masses a priest can regularly celebrate on a given day.
A few years ago, a parishioner informed me, "If my Mass is ever cancelled, I will go to the neighboring parish." I suppose there are other parishioners of like mind. I should never want them to make such a move! I hope they would keep in mind that the
Faith in Our Future
process asks that all parishes make adjustments to their Mass schedules considering the factors that I have noted above. Changes and adjustments will have to be made in our area and throughout the diocese.
I thank you in advance for your understanding, support, and loyalty at this time of transition for us all! With Our Lady and St. Anthony to accompany us we can do great and good things!