Letter from the Pastor April 28
After being away for nearly 2 weeks in the Holy Land, I had to be away much of this week for the Diocesan Clergy Convocation. So, it feels like I have been away for a very long time. The time before the Holy Land Pilgrimage was, of course very busy (Holy Week, Easter, Awakening Retreat), and the three weeks away have not been rest time, so I am kind of worn out and weary of traveling. I am ready for a little “routine time” here at home as we head into the end of the semester. Actually, the 3 weeks I was away were probably as good a time as any (from a Campus Ministry perspective) as our student community was in that most intense crunch-time preparing for the end of the semester and finals.
As for me, I have been involved in 2 pretty intense experiences: the Holy Land Pilgrimage and the Clergy Convocation. The two experiences are working hand-in-hand inside me to the way a retreat experience generally does. My time in the Holy Land was very much like the last time: a time of reconnecting with Scripture, of reconnecting with history, of reconnecting with the events that bring salvation, of reconnecting with Jesus. I feel a deep connection to the Holy Land because of its deep connection to texts that have formed my life. When I am there, I want to stay. When I come home, I want to go back. And I will.
The annual clergy convocation is not always intense. It is designed to be a chance for the clergy of the Diocese to connect, to be away from work, to pray together, to learn together. But this year, the educational component was focused on the Catholic concept of “the New Evangelization,” which is an important part of this Year of Faith. The focus of the presenter: Fr. Frank Disiano, CSP, was the parish as a center of the New Evangelization – or places where people are called to experience connection to Jesus. It was a lot to absorb and it was very challenging – not because I had never heard it, not because I disagree with it, but because I whole-heartedly agree, but have not always been effective in pushing us to that vision as a parish community.
Stack that on top of the Holy Land experience and it is a lot to reflect on, a lot to take in. I have a feeling that this summer is going to be a time for much deeper reflection.
As this school year comes to an end, knowing that I will be serving as pastor of the Center for one more year, I would like to initiate a process of transition that will carry us through the next year. During the Month of June, I will be hosting a series of meetings to assess the “state of the Newman Center.” These meetings will be primarily for the permanent community and will be held on different days and times to accommodate diverse schedules. I will be inviting every registered parishioner to participate and hope that all will make it a priority. We are a diverse community and participate in the life of the Newman Center for different reasons. As a matter of preparing for a transition of Pastors, I would like to know what you see as priorities for the future. I will be publishing the dates, sending personal letters and generally badgering you over the coming weeks and I look forward to intentionally reflecting with you on the life and priorities of our communities. More to come.