Letter from the Pastor – November 4
This week we hosted Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, the provincial of the Western Dominican Province and my religious superior. Fr. Mark is an alumni of the UofA and of this Newman Center. It is always fun to have him here and he always speaks of his fond memories of his time as a student leader in our community. Part of The Provincial’s job is to make official visitations to assess the ongoing health and needs of the Province; so Fr. Mark’s visit was official. This year’s visit is particularly important because of the reality that I am quickly approaching the end of my third term as Superior of the community here. Within the Dominican structure, three terms represents an upper limit, so, as I have mentioned before, I will likely be reassigned next summer.
Fr. Mark met with the Dominican Community and members of the parish staff to assess the state of our ministry and Dominican Community to help him in making decisions about a new Pastor for the community. In the coming weeks, I will be hosting a series of meetings for members of Newman’s permanent and student communities to hear from you what you might be looking for at the coming time of transition. I would also ask for you to pray for Fr. Mark and the leaders of our Province.
The reality of the Church is that there are fewer and fewer priests to choose from in making assignments (Fr. Mark repeatedly said “The bench is not very deep.” during his visit. We have been blessed to have three Friars on our staff for the last couple of years – there are very few Dominican Ministries where this is true. The task of matching up the needs of a community with the available priests is daunting. So let us pray for the guidance of the Spirit for our Provincial leadership as they make important decisions that affect our community.
I will also ask your prayers for Frs. Donald, Jacek, and I as we travel to the Bay Area this weekend for the bi-annual gathering of Dominican Campus Minsters. It is always good to gather with our colleagues from other Dominican-run Centers. We will be returning next weekend.