As you all know, this weekend is my last as pastor of St. Matthew Parish. Last month Archbishop Blair appointed me as Rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford effective June 1, 2018. Although I am deeply honored by this appointment to lead the community of faith at the St. Joseph Cathedral, I am saddened to have to say goodbye to the many parishioners whom I have come to know and love in the past eight years that I have had the privilege of being your Pastor. I came to St. Matthew in September 2010 six weeks after the passing of my dear friend, Father Brian Monnerat. Father Brian’s sudden death opened the wounds for many of the sorrow experienced by the tragic death of Father Lysz eleven years before. In appointing me pastor of St. Matthew, Archbishop Mansell felt that I could bring about some healing and comfort to the parishioners with our shared loss. I pray that I have done some good in these past years. I know that I have tried my best to be a good shepherd and the spiritual father of a truly wonderful flock. Throughout the years I have been blessed to work so closely in the governance of St. Matthew School, first with Sister Christina Joseph and now with Mrs. Helen Treacy as Principal. The school is the gem of this parish. All the time, effort and money that is put into running a Parish Catholic School today is worth it when you see so many young families worshiping the faith at Sunday Mass each week. The lay teachers are extraordinary and the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who founded the school in 1962 and staffed it for fifty-five years were a true blessing from God. Throughout those years the I.H.M. sisters lived out their religious vocation in providing an exceptional education for our youth based on the “good news” that Jesus came to proclaim. The legacy they leave is one based on God’s love for us and that the children always come first. The parish can and should be very proud of the number of vocations that it has fostered here at St. Matthew in recent years. From our native sons, Ramon Garcia and Matthew Collins to the seminarians that have been assigned to us during their formation years, St. Matthew has always support her priests and prays that many more young men will follow the call from Jesus to consider a vocation to the priesthood. St. Matthew Parish is different for many other parishes. We live in a very different world than most of us grew up in. The church and religion in general do not play an important part in the lives of many people today. Here at St. Matthew, faith in God does matter, concern and outreach for the poor does matter and in a very real way your witness to the faith as dedicated parishioners of this wonderful parish is your lasting legacy as you bid farewell to me and welcome your new pastor, Father John Dietrich in a few weeks. Thank you all so very much for being a part of my life and I assure you that you will always be remembered in my prayers, I ask as well that you keep me in yours.
May God bless you always.