fTHERThe Flame: September/October 2009
Dear Readers of The Flame,

As many of you know, I have taken a new assignment in the diocese of Cleveland. I am the new pastor of St. Peter Parish in North Ridgeville.

It seems the most popular phrases on my lips at this time are “It’s still up in the air” and “I have lots of loose ends to tie up”. I think this is common when any one moves. There may be a few more factors thrown into the life of  a parish priest when he moves.

A priest has to say goodbye and hello to hundreds of people all at once. That sounds simple. However, it really is quite complex depending on how the priest related to the people he is leaving. It can be complex on the other end too, depending on what the people’s experience was of the priest who was leaving.

There are administrative details to wrap up at the old place and new ones to become acquainted with at the new place. Most likely the priest’s personal schedule will change. He will be establishing relationships with a new set of co-laborers. He will probably have a new cook and therefore a new diet. The priest will also have to become acquainted with a different city or area. And, of course, there is dubious task of packing up one’s stuff and getting it to the new place. (Some asked me if the diocese helped move us. After a hearty laugh, I said “No.”)

There is a non-biblical beatitude that I cling to when all seems up in the air and life is more than a bit messy: Blessed are the flexible, they shall not get bent out of shape! Now, I would not put this beatitude on a par with Sacred Scripture. However, it does take trust in God to be genuinely flexible. If Jesus is Lord, we need to trust him while we slog through the quagmire of moving.

Moving also reminds me to cultivate the virtue of detachment. Without using this particular word, Jesus spoke much about detachment. “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21) and “In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) As I sort through stuff I hear the call to divest myself of many of these things. There is “…a time to keep, and a time to cast away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:6b) For many of us, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this the time to cast away? Is this the time to have a garage sale and give the money away?”

Let us pray for each other. Let us seek to be flexible. We want to trust the Lord in the midst of life’s changes. Let us cultivate detachment. As we let go of the things of this world, we receive the gifts of the world to come.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Bob Franco