Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“I hope they just forget about me out here!”
Many of you know that this has been a frequent reply of mine when a parishioner(s) has said something like: “we hope they don’t reassign you anytime soon!” Well, after having been in “the Shire” of Stillwater for three years, it appears the Archdiocese has not, unfortunately, forgotten about that tall, lanky, priest they ordained a few years ago. Recently, I received a call from Bishop Cozzens on behalf of Archbishop Hebda informing me that I would be receiving a new parish assignment beginning July 1, 2018.
Many of you know that I came to Stillwater as a freshly minted, “newbie,” priest in June of 2015 (two full weeks ahead of Fr. Izen I might add!). Of course, I knew that as an associate pastor, the length of my assignment would likely be only a few years. However, what I never expected was the extent to which my heart would be filled to overflowing with love for all of you, the people of God, in these few short years. What is more though, and to my great surprise, is the extent to which you have opened your hearts and lives to me (Wisconsinite, Packer fan and rookie priest). In my priestly service of you, my experience has seemed rather lopsided in that you have been those who so often have served me, witnessed Christ to me, forgiven me of my weaknesses, and loved me when I did not deserve it.
At my ordination Mass, the bishop smeared oil on my hands and consecrated them for offering the sacred Mysteries of Jesus and to serve all those in my care with the heart of Christ. What he never mentioned was the very difficult trial of leaving those you have given your heart over to in the service of Christ. I now have a much greater appreciation and understanding for what Fr. Izen and other pastors have gone through in their transitions.
At this point, I do not yet know where my new assignment will be, but it will be somewhere within the Archdiocese. I do know that I will be made a parochial administrator/pastor so I will no longer be able to tyrannize Fr. Izen or other such pastor! I am ever so grateful for his friendship and very great patience with me as a new priest!
My final weekend at St. Mary’s will be June 16th and St. Michael’s on June 24th. Please pray for me, that I may remain steady in the Lord’s service and for His people. You will certainly continue to be in my prayers.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Jake Anderson