I write to you with excitement but also in sadness today-I write to inform you that I have accepted a position in Campus Ministry at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I will be starting there very soon, so the last day I will be here is Sunday, September 22nd.
My position at Saint Anne came to me by way of a clear act of God’s providence: I was searching for jobs as I planned my move to Chicago from D.C., in preparation for marriage. Imagine how surprised I was to hear from my fiancée that her boss and pastor at St. Benedict had run into Fr. Bernie at Cardinal George’s funeral Mass and had mentioned that I, his pastoral associate’s fiancé , was searching for a job just as Sisters Lauretta and Anna Marie were retiring. The rest fell into place very quickly.
It’s easy to point to such wonderful “coincidences” as providence, and many times, rightly so. That being said, the entirety of my four years here at Saint Anne has been one that has shown and reminded me of God’s providing grace. I have been delighted to give witness to my faith and facilitate others’ encounter with the living Christ through the RCIA process here at Saint Anne.
As Elizabeth and I began our adventure as a married couple, the Young Marrieds Group offered a wonderful support: though we are not the most connected couple in Barrington or Saint Anne, YMG’s ministries offered us some community, camaraderie and great witnesses of loving marriages.
I only had one year of post-grad ministry experience prior to coming to Saint Anne. My time as a volunteer in Peru challenged me to be open to new cultures and vantage points in a way I hadn’t necessarily been before; working at Saint Anne has helped me do that in a new way, too, through Women’s Faith Time. My marriage and working with this group has offered me insight into some questions and issues around women’s spirituality that, as a man working in the Church, I might not have been aware of otherwise.
I have also been truly blessed to administer baptism preparation for parents who choose to initiate their children into the Catholic family. Though recent, this has taken on new meaning for me as Elizabeth and I welcomed our daughter Lucy into the world and baptized her, too.
In addition to these specific ministries, I have known countless blessings in the friendships and welcoming so many of you-fellow staff and parishioners-have offered during my time here. What a joy to be sad to leave such lovely people! What a blessing that there is such bitter sweetness. These words are such a paltry thanks, but I hope to pay forward what I have learned and witnessed here in my own life and in the ministry I take on in Iowa.
As a family, we are so excited for what is ahead of us, uncertain though it may be. That said, we are fully at peace trusting that this new adventure is where God is calling us as a family to be. In the midst of the bittersweet departure and hectic logistics of moving and starting a new job, community, etc., I am so grateful for the example of providence my time here has afforded me. And so, as I leave, looking toward the excitement of the unknown, I remember a quote by the French Dominican Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire: “All I know about tomorrow is that providence will rise before the sun.”
Know of my prayers for you all-please keep us in your prayers, too.