For anyone who cherishes his friends and values stability in life, saying goodbye has to be hard. The consciousness that goodbye doesn't necessarily mean farewell makes it easier, of course , as does the sense that we are all - and remain - connected as part of something so wonderful and so much bigger than ourselves - our life together as Christ's Body, the Church.
On the other hand, the practicalities of moving - packing, throwing things away, recording one's change of address, transferring files from one computer to another, etc. - all that stuff is stressful, to say the least. But that stuff is also, of course, temporary. The human relationships - personal and pastoral - are lasting, which is what makes the many rituals of saying goodbye so precious.
My final week in New York began with a Paulist in my honor in the 59th Street Paulist residence. At mid-week, I went to Peekskill in Westchester for a fun and nostalgic goodbye dinner with 5 of my cousins and their husbands. Then last night the parish pulled out all the stops at a fantastically festive celebration in the parish center. It was a great reflection and a true celebration of the wonderful community we have together created here over these years.
Tomorrow, it will be my turn to ritualize all that, celebrating Sunday Mass here for the last time as associate pastor and giving thanks for the privilege of serving here these past 10 years and for all the blessings I have received and for the blessing these 10 years have been for all of us who have called St. Paul the Apostle Parish our spiritual home.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shown in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).