As the Christmas Season finally winds down and the University community gears back up for another term, it is a joy to welcome our students back from break. It has been a too quiet month at the Newman Center, and it was great this week to hear the pitter-patter of student feet at the Center, in the parking lot, and on the surrounding streets. I was so glad for students to return that numerous cars illegally parked in our parking lot this week or the noise of a Thursday night fraternity party could not break my good mood.
In addition to the “welcome back” for our returning students, we are also happy to welcome those students who are coming for the first time to Campus and to the Newman Center. It is our desire to be a Church-away-from-home for all students and we hope that you will find a welcoming demeanor among our community, our student ministers, and our pastoral team.
I have mentioned casually throughout the last several months that this will likely be my last semester as the pastor of the Newman Center. I am in the midst of my 9th year in this ministry and, all things being equal, that should be the limit of my time here. Many have asked, but I have no information to share at this time regarding either my replacement or my next assignment. Our Provincial is planning to make assignment announcements by March. Hopefully we will know something then. I am pressing forward under the assumption that I will be reassigned during the coming summer. To that end, I would like to host a series of “town-hall” meetings to discuss the state of the ministry and future directions and dreams. I will publish the dates and times well in advance and hope to see many of you there. Above all, let us, as a community, commit to pray for a smooth transition and for continued grace for our parish.
Once again, let me say thank you on my own behalf and that of my family for your prayers and support during what has been a very difficult month. My brothers unexpected and untimely death made for a very challenging holiday season. The literally hundreds of notes and messages of prayer and support that I have received during this time have buoyed me up and sustained me. My family is coping and moving on. your prayers and support have been wonderful.