When I met with Bishop Coleman in June of 2012 during which time he informed me that he was appointing me as Pastor of Saint Mary’s, I was thrilled and excited. However, as the days passed I began to start thinking about the role of Pastor and I will be honest, the excitement quickly turned to fear as I started thinking: am I up for the challenge? How will I be able to be an effective Pastor and still be the chaplain at Saint Luke’s and the Diocesan Director of Pastoral Ministry to the Sick? I was overwhelmed and to a certain extent I still am but not for the reasons you might think. You see, as I spiritually prepared myself for this exciting challenge in priestly journey, I quickly realized that I needed to adopt and heed the powerful words that Saint Paul addresses to the Community at Corinth that we hear proclaimed this Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The words, when I read them earlier in the week, hit my like a ton of bricks. I realized that the words should be the preamble for every priest going into a new assignment and they should be read and re-read and prayed daily so that we can be good heralds of the Gospel. Read again the words that we hear this Sunday. “When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” (1Cor 2:1-5) Now, I admit, I am not perfect. There I said it! But, I do my best, each and every day, to make certain that I preach the message of Jesus Christ and the message of Him alone. When I came to you, my fellow Saint Mary’s Parishioners, I did come here in weakness and in fear because this was my first assignment as Pastor. However, because of your love and support and embracing attitude, that fear has been replaced with much hope and a sense of calm permeates my entire being. I ask that you pray for me as I continue to pray for you. Pray also for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. We live in a time when the shortage of priests is only growing and it is oftentimes the reality that many priests serve two parishes as Pastor and some hold other Diocesan positions which take them away from daily parochial duties. I am however filled with much hope these days. I do believe that the vision and attitude of Pope Francis and the impact that he has had on the church (and the entire world!) in just under a year will one day yield a great harvest but right now, we must do our best to encourage young men to embrace that call to serve as a priest so that the sacraments will always be available; the mercy of God will always abound and the understanding that God loves us just as we are will be reinforced in the life of the Church.