St. Stephen Cathedral Mass

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Pastor’s Perspective

Published on March 15th, 2013

Dear Parishioners,

By now, I feel certain that most everyone in the parish has heard the news that I will be leaving the Cathedral in June.  In a letter dated, March 5th, Bishop Medley has appointed me as the pastor of Christ the King Parish in Madisonville.  This has been a tough couple of weeks, and I want you to know that I am so very grateful for your kind words, emails and promise of prayer.  As sad as I am, I am certainly not surprised by this move.  I will have been here for eighteen years, and very few priests are permitted to stay in one place for that long. (Monsignor Higdon was here for twenty years; Father Rhodes for sixteen).  I think that we have accomplished much during these years, but I am well aware that no one priest can effectively relate to everyone.  There are probably people who have left the parish because of me, or those who do not feel that I have fed them spiritually or brought them closer to God.  A periodic change is good for a parish.  A new pastor can perhaps relate to some who felt left behind by his predecessor, and his unique gifts and talents can bring new life into a parish.  It is my sincere hope, prayer and expectation that this will happen under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Jerry Riney.  We have been friends since 1963, and I am pleased and honored that he will be the next pastor of St. Stephen.  I have assured him that he is blessed to have received this assignment.

As I write this perspective, the Cardinal-electors in Rome have entered the Sistine Chapel and have begun the Conclave.  It is my hope and expectation that by the time you are reading this, we will have a new pontiff.  Even though most of us (members of the Church) do not have a vote, nonetheless, the Conclave is truly an ecclesial event in which we all participate by our prayers.  I know you have joined me in prayer for the Church during these historic days and especially in praying for the one whom Christ has called to assume the tremendous responsibility as the successor to St. Peter.  I have had the occasion to visit the “room of tears” adjacent to the Sistine where the newly elected pontiff changes into his papal vestments.  I was happy for that opportunity and my joy was intensified knowing that I would never have to change clothes in there!

Please, let’s hold one another in prayer these days.

Love, Fr. John

The Catholic community of Saint Stephen Cathedral serves to welcome, evangelize and worship in the name of Jesus Christ.
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