Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This weekend I am honored to be installed as the 8th pastor here at Notre Dame Parish. It is exciting to officially accept this new position, especially after having gotten to know many of you over these past months and now feeling like I am becoming part of the community. The responsibility is no less daunting, but it is one I am resolved to undertake with the help and support of so many good people of faith like yourselves.
One challenge which I have come to face as a pastor, though, is the question of leadership and authority. It is perhaps the biggest change in accepting this new role, and it is one that I have struggled with, probably because I have trouble with authority myself. We live in a very democratic culture, where we do not like to be told that we cannot change things we do not like. And for the first time, I find myself making decisions as a leader, and it is certainly a burden I could never be prepared for. Because now many decisions are presented to me, and I have to sort out what is for the best of the parish, knowing that no matter what I decide, not everyone will be happy.
As a priest of Jesus Christ though, I am called to imitate his example of what it means to be a servant leader, above all by looking to the Cross. Christ, the King of the Universe, led by climbing upon that throne of the Cross, by wearing the crown of thorns. Christ does not ask of others what he is not first willing to do himself, above all laying down his life in love for those he serves. And I know that is ultimately my job here at Notre Dame.
So I hope you will be patient with me as I grow in this opportunity to be united with Christ. Please know that I will strive each day to lay down my life a little more for all of you, for this parish, so that, even in some small way, I may help you all grow a little closer to Christ. If I do something that upsets you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and we can chat; I will do my best to explain myself. Even if we disagree, I hope you can understand how much consideration goes into every decision, weighing the well-being of the entire parish, and pray for me that I may have the wisdom to make the best choices. We are all a team, and a healthy team needs conversation and dialogue, but it also requires that we put our trust in God that he will work through us, often in spite of ourselves, in bringing about His Kingdom in the world.
Yours in Christ,