Admittedly, I still have to master the skill of the title I wrote here. This is a reality that people often face. There is nothing permanent, only change.
In a few days a good friend of mine will be moving on to his new assignment. At the start of this year, there will be a general transfer of parish priests in the Diocese of Cubao. Up until November I would not like to believe that it will happen. But it did. I guess our conversations with the Bishop about letting our parish priest stay did not matter. The transfers are pushing through.
Fr. Raymond is one of the best parish priests I've met, and one of the best priests I've met as well. He has done great things for the parish. What the parishioners will remember the most is the beautiful parish center which was put up during his term. He worked hard to raise funds to put up the parish center, approaching his friends and campaigning in wealthier parishes just to get the funds needed. He has always practiced transparency in reporting to the parish community about the fundraising activities done and how funds were spent, which, by the way, is the only time I've seen a parish priest in our parish doing it. He is also a very good pastor, very articulate, always prepared well-written homilies that sometimes you feel like you are attending a recollection. I also find him to be a perfectionist. He can be frank in delivering his comments, especially if they are negative. I understand that perfection is necessary, a must even, if what you are doing is for the Lord. Comments are also necessary to help us improve in what we do, especially in serving the church and the Lord. Fr. Ray is also an amazing co-worker and very easy to deal with. Our parish newsletter, which we've been consistent in delivering twice a month, is produced by an amazing team of Father and I! I appreciate that he delivers his part on time (in fact he is always on time!), and that he trusts and appreciates what I do to produce the newsletter. Fr. Ray is not only my parish priest but has also become a good friend, and badminton buddy :)
The announcement about him leaving made me sad. I will not be working with him on the newsletter anymore (maybe the new parish priest will, if he still wants to). I will not see him as often. But the movement has to happen, for the parish's good, and especially for Fr. Ray's. I should think that, hey, this also happened when Fr. Mac left, and that I can visit him still in UP (Fr. Ray's new parish).
I wish Fr. Ray all the best in his new parish, and that he will always be in my prayers...
first posted Jan. 9, 2006