Ernestine Has Been Working OVERTIME!

This weekend I received a text message from Abby, who wrote, "Are you staying? Please say yes!! Either way we have to get together to watch "October Road!" This reminds me of Cody's text from two weeks ago who mentioned, "Rumor has it, you're leaving OSJ!" That's right up there with Shirley's message of June 27th who stated, "Dear Father Jim, thank you for the birthday wishes, and you are such a joy! Stay with us at Old Saint Joe's; we need you. ....Sorry, that really isn't fair of me is it?" And then, this weekend... ... ...

... ... ... On Saturday, I had lunch in Antigo with a good friend who is a former grade school and high school classmate of mine who concluded our time together by stating, "Jim, I've heard some rumors about you." I responded with, "I'm sure there are plenty, but what have YOU heard?" There was a time in my life that such a statement from a trusted friend would scare me; but over these years of priesthood, I am trying my best to live as transparently as possible. Therefor the statement did not make me as paranoid as one might think! Billy continued, "I hear you are taking a year off from the priesthood to help your sister open and manage her new restaurant in Antigo!"

Ernestine, the nasty telephone operator whom I remember as the one who scared me in the 70's must be working overtime!

How do such rumors persist? What's the origin of such thought?

Perhaps people have been doing the math, and they remember that I was appointed as pastor of Old Saint Joe's by Bishop David Zubik for a six year term beginning on July 25th, 2004. It does not take an accounting major to realize that my time is up at the end of the month! So perhaps an explanation is due, given my clock is ticking -- especially for the folks with great memory and a flare for numbers.

This much I can say: I have a very conservative notion of the Vow of Obedience; in all honesty, the deciding factor will not be mine! The issue is in the hands of the Abbot of Saint Norbert Abbey and the Bishop of Green Bay. (Because I am a pastor, I am subject not only to my abbot, but to our bishop as well!) Personally and honestly, I am aware of where the Order and the Diocese stand on the issue. Nevertheless, given the conclusion of my pastoral term is still in process, all I can say is that I'll have an answer here by July 25th, the Feast of Saint James the Greater, my patronal feast day.

That may sound a bit coy, and perhaps a bit baiting in nature, but protocol requires me to know the facts before I share the results of the process in a letter to my parishioners and then here in this forum. It also adds for greater readability here, would you not agree!!! Until then, let's suffice to say, I enjoy all aspects of my ministry very much, yet I am also enjoying the less-demanding schedule that the summer offers. So let's not sweat this out; direction will come soon -- for me, and then for you.

Ernestine should hold tight for now!


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