As I’m writing to y’all today, I’ve been a bit nostalgic. I find there is something quiet and lovely about nostalgia. It’s my happy place a whole lot of the time. Maybe that’s because my mind will sometimes sanitize my memories to make them happier. On Mother’s Day, I reminisced about the fun of a childhood vacation in the Ozarks. My Mom reminded me however, that for two weeks I was covered in mosquito bites and sunburn, I got food poisoning and I was thrown by a horse. Funny how I forgot the itching, scratching, fever, and bruises. Maybe, in retrospect, my emotional impression is willed to be happier, more fun, and less wrenching. I long for happy memories. This is when Disney cartoon birds gently land on my shoulder, while whistling “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Millennials, please Google it, then watch it on You Tube.
But nostalgia, even if blissful, is tinged with a natural sadness. As I am remembering the past, I also know that it is no more. This is a grief we must all live with in this life of ours. Experiencing this grief, we also know that there is no potential in the past. And we are divinely meant for potential. Maybe that’s why Ecclesiastes 7:10 reminds the Christian – “Don’t say the good old days are better. That thought isn’t coming from a place of wisdom.”
We can certainly have wonderful memories. We should learn from history. We can be formed in the wisdom of the saints who have gone before us. And we must work through hurtful or awful memories with emotional resolve, spiritual grace, and strength. However, we need to remember that every virtue should more fully apply to how we are living now, and to what we hope for in the future. Have faith, hope, and love in the now and in the future. Perhaps the most important truth for all Catholic Christians is found in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever.” Our relationship with Christ redeems and heals our past, provides a pattern for us to emulate in the here and now, and invites us to hope into the future fearlessly, without reticence.
Now y’all, this is all a rather long preamble to some news I have to tell you. Bishop Vann has asked me to leave Holy Trinity on June 30th and begin work with a parish in Huntington Beach. I will begin there on July 1st. I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise. I’ve been anticipating this call away from Holy Trinity for the last few years. I have glorious memories of my past 15 years. I have almost no bad memories… ok, maybe one or two… but those memories only point out my own folly or weakness, so they are valuable reminders to continue improving.
Still, I have a grief in leaving. I will miss seeing all y’all, serving all y’all, and being with all y’all. I know that there is greatness in store for each one of you. As a community there is such great potential for Holy Trinity to grow and mature in faith, hope, and love. And then, to evangelize, bringing love, hope, and meaning to Coto, Ladera and Rancho M.V. – what wonderful opportunity there is here!
Now, before I wax poetic too much more, there is still more news. Fr. John Nguyen is also moving at the same time. He is going to serve a parish in Fountain Valley. You’ll hear more from Fr. John about this. This is really his news to relate to you all, so I will have him write to you soon.
Holy Trinity will get a new Pastor and a new Parochial Vicar on July 1, 2020. I will tell you that they are both experienced priests with fine resumes. They are not only resolute, but happy, to come to Holy Trinity. More formal introductions will be sent along in the near future.
The parish staff – Andrew, Angela, Anthony, Casey, Chentel, Lyssa, Patti, Rey, and Susan – will stick around, welcoming and working with the new priests. Ministry as we know it will continue as seamlessly as CoVid-19 will allow. The bottom line is this… the Church always moves forward, progresses, changes, adapts and adopts, while following, and extolling, Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, and forever.
So look for some more emails about all of this. We’ll keep you all informed as we work through things over the next 6 weeks or so. Say a little prayer for Fr. John and me. Say a little prayer for the Pastor and Parochial Vicar to come. Say a little prayer for the parish staff. And say a little prayer, keeping the parish’s potential in mind! Finally, thank God that the good work he has begun in us will continue until the day of Christ Jesus’ return!
Sincerely, in God’s grace, I remain yours,