On April 28, 2019, Bishop Noonan called me into his office to inform me that he had appointed me to St. Paul Catholic Community as its administrator. I was delighted to have the opportunity to embrace a new family of faith as its proper shepherd and spiritual father.
St. Paul’s is quite a unique community. Our demographic largely consists of older parishioners. In different ways, many of you remind me of my grandmother who, as you know, was one of the most important people in my life. So, while my official duty is to be your shepherd, I often find myself taking care of your emotional and spiritual needs as if I was tending to my own grandmother who did not live long enough to see the priest I have become.
You are very special to me!
Recently, a long time pastor retired. As a favor to Bishop Noonan, Fr. John Giel agreed to transfer to St. Stephen’s in Winter Springs. Consequently, Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando will become vacant. It being my home parish, the bishop believed that I would be a fitting candidate to succeed Fr. John. This decision caught me by surprise. This is one of those times when the promise of obedience became so pertinent. I have never said “no” to bishop. I certainly shouldn’t start now. Bishop’s decision is God’s will for my life.
The weeks leading up to this announcement being made official were a roller-coaster of emotions. I did not know how to break the news to you. No doubt, these past two years being here have brought some challenges, but they are nothing – absolutely NOTHING, compared to the joy I have received in return. It has been my true honor and my privilege to be your “pastor.”
Due to some logistics, I am not able to share with you yet the name of my successor until next weekend. However, to share a bit about him, perhaps, John the Baptist’s words capture it best, “The one who is greater than I is coming after me” (Mk. 1:7). Your new shepherd is a man of deep faith and tremendous kindness whom I greatly admire. Having personally known him for quite some time, there is no doubt in my heart that he will take so very good care of you, my lovely and beautiful people.
Please pray for us during this period of transition. My prayers are with you as well.