At first, when my Superior Provincial told me I had to leave St. Mary’s Parish, it seemed bad news to me. Yet I knew I had to obey. After committing to obey, I asked the Lord for the grace to obey willingly and lovingly, and with my heart and mind. Through your prayers, God gave me that grace. I understand IN MY BONES that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Peace and union with God became real after surrendering to God. I still need your prayers to remain surrendered and as totally as Jesus wants me to do.
But I do know that St. Mary’s is not the ultimate goal but a way to go to the Father’s house, where Christ has prepared a place for me, and for each one of you. Nothing can prevent us from reaching that place except our own will. I do see some of the fruits of my surrender in my own life right now… and I see that some of you are already sharing in these fruits. God is blessing you and will continue to do so.
Let me clarify the announcement I made last week.
1) I am not retiring from pastoral ministry.
2) A sabbatical year is not retirement. It will be a time for me to listen to what God has to say to my heart. I will be still and quiet, and listen to that small inner voice of God. I will study the spiritual teachings of St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas. I will learn more about spiritual direction and Lectio Divina (contemplative prayer) guided by the traditions of the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Carmelites, and the Church Fathers. I will likely do a little bit of ministry in Montreal. Maybe I could hear confessions at St. Joseph’s Oratory, God willing.
3) By July or August 2018, I could come back to the Archdiocese of Vancouver as a Dominican priest, and serve wherever the Bishop and the Dominican Provincial Superior will send me, anywhere in the Archdiocese. And I am happy with that.
4) I am truly grateful for all these years at St. Mary’s. It is much more than I ever expected.
5) Please, do not try to change the decision of Fr. André, my superior. It would not do any good for St. Mary’s and for me.
6) My ministry as pastor and parish priest of St. Mary’s will finish sometime around the end of August 2017.
7) Between now and the end of August, I have very limited time. Hence, I will not be able to accept all requests for spiritual direction and dinner invitations.
God bless you,