Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It is difficult for me to be transferred to St. Frances Cabrini Parish as of July 1, as I expected to continue as your pastor for another four years. We have shared our mutual love and struggles, so I wish to help you with your sadness and confusion. Transition is not an event of a week, it is a process worked out over two to three years. I was not allowed to talk of the changes for the past three months, but that gave me time to deal with shock, denial, sadness, etc. You are just beginning to deal with this and may be tempted to doubt God’s love or at least the Church’s concern for you. This is part of transition, so it’s important to remember that we are beloved children of God, who makes good out of what seems bad. The roof at Our Lady of Good Help failed during a storm, now we have a wind resistant long-life roof. Water entered a vent at St. Mary School forcing us out and into partnership of Christian love with Harbor Community Church. We received $600,000 in restoration that modernized and made our school more attractive. The transfer for myself, Fr. Peter and Fr. Brian makes way for the Heralds of the Good News to bring their gifts to you. Their order is a missionary order and they are enthusiastic about coming to love and encourage each of our seven parishes and missions. This could be something wonderful beyond anything we expect. Today we are sad and may feel betrayed, but we are still in the hands of God, who saves us and who sends us his Holy Spirit.

It is important to ask, “Where is the love of God in this and what does love demand of us?” On the feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church giving her power to evangelize. The Spirit comes into us in Baptism and in the Church manifests God’s love. I ask the Spirit to fill us and make us aware of God’s presence. We embrace the mission of Christ to bring love and mercy into our parish. Priests arrive and leave, but the parish continues and the Holy Spirit remains. Love impels me to step forward in faith and trust.

God’s love fills our hearts with a desire to please him. In Grays Harbor this may mean support of the River Camp moving to Our Lady of Good Help. In Forks it may mean working on the garden or giving dollars to paint the church or to fix the roof. At St Mary’s it means giving to the Annual Catholic Appeal, so we can replace our sound system. Love of God moves benefactors to raise capital for the St Mary School endowment. The change of pastor is a chance to consider joining the Pastoral Council or becoming a catechism teacher or an aide. Each parish needs your love and help. Your priests need your prayers.

Your servant in Christ, Father Paul