St Francis Q&A

Friday, June 16, 2006

Goodbye, St. Francis

Today, I move on to my first priestly assignment: St Andrew the Apostle Church in Silver Spring. While I am sad to leave St Francis, I very much look forward to begin working in the vineyard of St Andrew's. St Andrew's is located at the intersection of Kemp Mill Rd and Arcola Ave, about 10 miles from St Francis. It is a sizable parish with a large school (over 400 students). Should be a good fit, pray God.

These past nine months have been pretty amazing here in this great parish. It all started in the rectory, where I truly enjoyed my time with Fr Lee and Msgr Ralph. These are two very fine priests who have been faithful for so many years. I learned so much from both of them about service, priesthood, life, and love. They continually showed me Christ and the fullness of his Gospel. They taught me what it means to be a shepherd, mainly through their actions, and also through their words (in the true spirit of St Francis!). What an honor to share a home with these two holy men!

To the staff and parishioners of this extraordinary parish, I say two words: THANK YOU!! Thank you for your warmth, friendship, fun, support, prayers, and love. You helped me so much during some of the most critical months of my life - preparing for ordination. I realized early on that the reason God put me here was so that I would be as ready as I could be, spiritually and personally, for priesthood.

St Francis is a family parish and a parish family!! Christ is truly present in your hearts and His love and kindness are shown regularly here. I had a real experience of His kingdom these past nine months. And, speaking of nine months, it's been like a mother carrying her child to birth. You have given birth to a priestly vocation, and now I am the fruit of your womb. Whatever good I do in my priesthood, it will be through you. You have nurtured a vocation so well; God knew what He is doing in sending me here.

While I say 'goodbye' in my title, this is not goodbye. If we pray for each other, we will see each other in prayer every day. Please pray for me, that I will be a faithful priest! Please know that you will be in my daily prayers. My hope is that you will remain a Christ-centered parish family, focused on Christ in the Eucharist, and living his Gospel of Love. May God continue to bless you abundantly, and thank you, St Francis! I love you all.

6 Comments:

  • Father Greg,

    We shall not say "goodbye," but see you soon. You were truly a gift to our parish. It is hard to believe that you are thanking the parish as we have received so much from you. You have enabled so many of us to see the living Jesus in adoration and benediction and in your homilies. You are now on my prayer "list," forever as I know that the priesthood has many valleys as well has highs. Know that you are in our daily prayers. We praise God that you are able to serve St. Andrews....they have yet to know of how you will bring Jesus to them!!!! Please remember that you are a "Father," to all that you have shepherded....past, present, and future.......

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 AM  

  • Ditto the comments by Anonymous!! nicely put !!

    Thank-YOU Fr. Greg.
    Hope you won't mind seeing some St. Francis parishoners at a St. Andrews Mass every once in a while !!

    By Anonymous seeker of truth, at 12:40 PM  

  • I agree with seeker of the truth, it was nicely put.

    I have a question. What does it mean "you are a Father to all that you have shepherded in the past?" Does this mean the people of the previous church you were a priest at?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:37 PM  

  • Yes, to anonymous about "father" to all those Father Greg has led to Jesus (from prior assignments), he is a spiritual father. To the parishioners at St. Andrew's Parish, he will become their "spiritual" father as well. Keep praying for Father Greg as well as all of our new priests. They need prayers perhaps more so as they are called to "father," or "shepherd," so many of God's children.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM  

  • I will definately pray for these fine young men, other priests and the pastor of my last church.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 PM  

  • RAISING MONEY FOR VOCATIONS

    Msgr. Panke needs runners and racewalkers for raising money for vocations. There will be three different races on different days.
    The Marine Marathon, 10 miler and 10 k (I will be doing). A lot of seminarians don't have the funds for books etc and by runnning or racewalking we are able raise the cash to help them with the things they need.

    Its a great way to meet new people from other parishes!

    If I can do it ANYONE can do it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 PM  

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