Dear Members of St. Gall’s Parish,
A reality we all face in parish life is “getting used to” the comings and goings of pastors and associate pastors. It is as certain as death and taxes! Looking back over the history of St. Gall Parish, we have had an astonishingly few changes of ordained personnel since our founding. Our newest departure will be that of Fr. Chris, who is to be promoted to the position of pastor pro temporare of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Incline Village, on November 30. Bishop Calvo has appointed Fr. Chris to this position, in consultation with his Priest Personnel Board. The word ‘pro temporare’ refers to Church law, whereby when a vacancy takes place for a pastor in a parish, the bishop will assign a priest to the position until a permanent pastor is appointed, which in the case of our diocese, is July 1, 2020. During the winter, all priests of the diocese of Reno will be advised of the vacancy, and if interested, to apply for the position. Fr. Chris is eligible to apply for the position. Remarkably, it has been less than three years since Fr. Chris was ordained priest, so his promotion is quite rapid.
I first got to know Fr. Chris when he was a seminary student, in Theology, and was eligible to participate in the required program to live for one year in a parish pastoral setting, in order to become better acquainted with parish practice. Bishop Calvo and his advisors asked me if Fr. Chris could come to Elko in that capacity. I agreed, and I believe that Fr. Chris had a most fulfilling role there. He was quickly embraced by the parishioners. I observed that he was quick to get involved, was extremely sociable, and was not afraid to take on anything pastorally which I deemed might be useful for him for his future as a priest. Indeed, may I add that, even as a seminarian, to me Fr. Chris offered way more to parish life than was my experience of many assistant pastors. I noticed his skills in the area of liturgy and worship. He also mixed well with the ordained staff and the pastoral staff and volunteers. We paid him “half a deacon’s salary”, in reality, he was deserving of more. In gratitude for his ministry, the parishioners of St. Joseph’s presented him with the gift of a pilgrimage to Jordan and the Holy Land, which was organized by Fr. Oliver and me, and on which we also welcomed Fr. Chris’ sister, of “In-and-Out Burger’ fame! During the pilgrimage, Fr. Chris also endeared himself to all the pilgrims, who came from difference parts of the country.
To make the transition from assistant pastor to pastor, even for a limited time (June 30) and with Fr. Chuck (Vicar General) exercising his overseeing role as appointed to by Bishop Calvo, will not be an easy task. It never is, for any pastor, and I know you will support him with your prayers, and also be there at whatever Farewell Gathering that is being organized by our Pastoral Council and Hospitality Committee.
In words often used in military departure ceremonies: “Fair Winds, and Following Seas”.