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!

5 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

Deepest sympathies... or should that be congratulations?

I'll say a prayer for you in Lourdes, and I hope we get to meet up when you come to London!

In the meantime... you've been tagged

Liz said...

Oh, Father Ben, would that he would move you way far south to our neck of the woods. We would appreciate you so much! I know you're about to be stretched again in all sorts of ways. It can't be much worse than trying to do the chaplain's job, and the Catholic center, and a parish at the same time though, can it??? We'll be praying for you. I wonder whether we are getting any changes in the great priest shift of 2007, haven't heard about any of yet, but parishoners tend to be the last to know.

DilexitPrior said...

Much needed prayers are being sent your way.

the owl of the remove said...

Thank you all! Mac - look out for a pilgrimage group from Vermont in Lourdes - our Vicar General, four other priests and about 40 people. If you hear any accents, see if they are from Burlington!

Theocoid said...

Good luck in your new assignment. My father's side of the family comes from Montpelier, and I have fond memories of sailing in Mallet's Bay with my uncle.