“All good things come to those who wait’
Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley has decided to remove Marshfield from Phase Six of the Collaborative Pastoral Plan, which is slated for June 2018. This was done as part of his overall concern about three parish collaborative structures. While further study goes on, Marshfield will be put into the “under discussion” category. The Planning Office is uncertain as to how or when the issue will be resolved. The decision to delay the implementation of Marshfield was one of several decisions he has made in response to a report issued by the Pastoral Planning Advisory Board.
This report referenced above, will be discussed with all the priests of the Archdiocese at Presbyteral Convocation which will be held on November 29th. There has been a question about the impact that such larger collaborative structures have had on the spiritual, physical and relational health of priests in those assignments. The Cardinal’s intention has always been to proceed with Disciples in Mission and the formation of collaborative(s) slowly, organically, consultatively and with careful study. In early December I will be sure to share with you all that I learn from this Presbyteral Convocation through my bulletin column.
Can we all let out a collective sigh? I would like to note that I have indicated that I have recommended that the three parishes be formed within a single collaborative, as it will allow the entire Catholic population of Marshfield to come together and pool their gifts as one body in Christ working together to evangelize to those who are not active in the Church and to those who are unchurched (which is an increasing level of millennials).
I realize this may be frustrating for the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils, Religious Education teachers and many of our liturgical volunteers who have diligently prepared for this moment. I must also admit that since receiving a phone call informing me of the parish being paced in Phase VI last May my life, the staff’s life and yours has been challenged and has brought forth a swath of emotions that no one knew what to do with. My responsibility as your spiritual father, that is your pastor, was to prepare you for a possible outcome that would have significantly changed the leadership of the parish community. I know that at some point I may be called to move to another parish, and honestly this has never been a thought I have wanted to entertain.
When or if we have to make this transition we will do so with the same resolve found in a deep rooted Eucharistic faith, and understanding that the one to whom we ultimately serve is the Risen Lord, the God of Abundant Blessing, the Prince of Peace.
Though we may be far off from Easter, God continues to proclaim through Jesus, “do not be afraid, I am with you always!”
One might venture to ask, “Can any good come from this frustrating mess?” I can only tell you that I am deeply appreciative of the many letters and comments and stories that many of you have taken the time to use to affirm your love for me. Like you, I am a man of faith, prayer and steadfast hope, and so I ask each of you to continue to pray for me, the staff, the Cardinal and all those involved in this Pastoral Planning Process. Let us also remember our future collaborators at St Christine’s in Marshfield Hills and Our Lady of the Assumption in Green Harbor. “Jesus I trust in you!” Father John F. Carmichael, Pastor