After all the private goodbyes, Friday's parish celebration, and yesterday's magnificent Mass of Thanksgiving, finally at dawn today it was time to move!
I can barely begin to express how emotional for me these past few days have been. The 200 or so parishioners who came out in the heat to to attend Friday evening's parish party and all the affection they showed touched me deeply, as did Fr. Gil Martinez's kind words. Then the Mass yesterday, the presence of so many parishioners and of at least one old friend from Good Shepherd (who had also traveled to Toronto in 1995 for my ordination), the magnificent music (highlighted by Mozart's Alleluia, reminiscent of my 1st Mass 15 years ago at St. Malachy's, and the incredible standing ovation at the end inevitably brought me to tears. Having so long lingered in something resembling the non-planet Pluto for much too much of my Paulist life, I finally felt a real corner had been turned in my journey.
And now the parties are over, and the work begins!
May SS. Joachim and Anne, whom the Church honors today and whose union gave the world the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the patroness of my new parish, pray for me as I prepare to assume the responsibilities of my new ministry!