Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The people of God are incredibly welcoming. I have been at this parish for a few weeks now and I am just heartened by the welcome I have received. Some were delighted that there is a new priest on the block and already invitations to dinners have started to pour in. I have a feeling I will gain a few pounds before the advent of Advent.

This is a fairly well-attended parish in the Bay Area with a good demographic mix. The educational background of most of the parishioners here is pretty high–and that’s just fine by me.

So far my preoccupation these days has been getting to know as many people as I can–and learning names, which is a tad tricky. But the parishioners are just fantastic about it. They understand that whereas they only have to learn one new name in the parish, I have to learn the names of a few thousand.

In addition to that, attending the various meetings of groups in the parish has been one of the things I have been doing these days. That’s just to let them know that “I am here. If there is anything you need me, I am available.” Plus, that’s another way for me to reach out and meet more of the parishioners.

So, it’s been quite a hectic several weeks. And that’s even before school has resumed. I’ve been told that once the school year begins, watch out! But so far my experience has been wonderful. There’s really nothing like being present to God’s people, celebrating with them and for them the Eucharist, baptizing their babies, consoling them as they bury their dead, reconciling them back to God, and accompanying them in their journey to God. And the gratitude I receive has been unexpected:

After presiding at one of the Masses last weekend, a couple who had been on vacation and who have just returned came up to me and introduced themselves. And then the gentleman said, “And thank you for being a priest.” I thought that rather good to hear.

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