“The neighborhood will not be the same without you! Why are you moving?”, the parish member asked me recently. It is a question I have heard many times since announcing that I will be taking on new responsibilities by the end of summer in San Gabriel, California. The personal relationship I have with many parish members is certainly enriching and I feel honored to know the history of so many families. My being at a distance will not be easy for some, perhaps many, but those who know such separations know life does change. While there is loss there are also new opportunities.
At the same time, I know there are genuine concerns that there are leaders to carry on the mission of the parish. People have told me they question how some programs will continue without my support. I speak to them of the leadership already in place in the parish, and how many, many people are doing the work already.
There are people who have just heard more recently that I will be moving to a new parish. I am not the only Claretian to move on. Others, including Fr. Hector Návalo, Fr. Mark Brummel, Fr. Jose Marino Novoa, and Br. Tom Haerle will all be accepting new assignments. And new Claretian missionaries will be arriving here in August.
While the leadership of the parish will be meeting with me and the new Pastor in June, I thought it might be helpful to others to have the opportunity to meet with me at a Town Hall gathering as we head into summer and prepare for those Claretian missionaries who will be serving at Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary. Given the opportunity to dialogue, you and others may have concerns or ideas they want to express with me. Perhaps such a gathering will give you an opportunity to ask me questions and orient them around our hopes and desires, our anxieties and grief.
I have selected two dates for the Town Hall meetings: Wednesday, May 23rd, 7 PM at Holy Cross School Hall, and Tuesday, June 5th, 7 PM at Immaculate Heart of Mary Hall. You are welcome to attend either gathering and I hope this helps us all to be missionaries committed to the Gospel. Thank you! God bless you!
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF