Saturday, May 26, 2007
Meeting with the Bishop
Yesterday, I sped into Burlington to do my normal duty with the Burlington Police Department. I have been the Chaplain for seven years, (which technically makes me a Corporal!). I usually attend role call for the evening shift at 4.45pm, and then ride with one of the officers for a couple of hours. This gives me a good chance to get to know them, and vice-versa, and certainly gives me a real view of what they have to deal with every day. For the curious, I have a police badge and I do wear a bullet proof vest - and I have a canister of pepper spray, which I have never needed to use - yet! I don't carry a gun. I regard my Chaplain duties as a very important part of my priestly ministry and the Police seem grateful for my presence over the years. Before my duties yesterday, I had to meet the Bishop. He has asked me to move and take over two parishes, about 20 miles from where I am now. A religious Order is pulling out - and we have very few men to choose from. Having been in my present parish only four and a half years, it is a difficult time - we diocesan priests are meant to regard the parish as our family. So, I have some grieving to do - prayers please! The American system is quite unlike the English one - I remember in Southwark Archdiocese, the moves were always announced some months before the actual time of moving - giving plenty of time for packing, goodbyes etc. I don't know if that is still the case? Here, we have a month. So, I will be packing over the next few weeks, transporting books etc over to the new place, before I leave my parish on its Feast Day - St. John the Baptist, and fly home to England for my annual visit to family and friends. I will be keeping all my present diocesan duties, so I am a little anxious about taking over two parishes, one big one - with 1000 registered parishioners, and a small country one - perhaps any US bloggers can visit me in hospital when I have my heart attack. The great blessing for me is always to be reminded that it doesn't depend on me - someone much more important is in charge!