When I came to Alexandria, in September of 2016, just before the announcement of my appointment here, I was welcomed to our Diocese by three of our priests, Fathers Scott Chemino, Bruce Miller and Jim Ferguson. My first meeting with Bishop Herzog was arranged by Fr. Miller. At that initial meeting, it was decided that Bishop Herzog would remain at the Bishop’s Residence and I would take up residence at the Rectory of our Cathedral. I moved into the Cathedral rectory in late October 2016, and from the beginning, Fr. Jim Ferguson and the rectory staff have been like family. When Fr. Bill Gearheard took up residence with us, it enhanced what was already a happy house. But this will change in early August. I’m moving again.
In early August, I will move into the Bishop’s Residence. It is a beautiful home, given to the Diocese by Hugh and Anne Coughlin. Father Craig Scott is assisting us in arranging for some needed work on the house. Father Louis Sklar, who has lived at the Residence for a time, is assisting Bishop Emeritus Herzog in moving the last of his personal things to his new home at Regency House. A group of men and women that are part of the A.C.T.S. renewal – retreat ministry have volunteered to move all my stuff from the Cathedral rectory to the Bishop’s Residence, saving the Diocese lots of dollars. And, to prepare for this early August move, Deacon Richard Mitchell and his family and a few friends will assist me in packing up all I own….which is mostly books…..for this change of residence.
I know that most of you reading this column have moved before, and have experienced the lessons available to us when we have to pack up and move: of all our stuff, what do we really use? In packing up all of our clothes, how much is too much? Could others wear what I never wear? Could others use what I never use? How many pots do I really need? Having to pack up all you own, this allows you to take stock, and ask those important questions that every disciple of the Lord Jesus should ask, about ownership and stewardship and the care of those who go without. Jesus of Nazareth talks about storing up stuff and sharing with others and the one great gift (c.f. Luke 12.16-34).
It is hard to believe, but since my ordination as a Roman Catholic priest (in 1989), I have moved thirteen times. With this fourteenth move in early August, I should have one more move in me…retirement (way down the road)…or to be with the Lord (as He sees fit). I am so grateful to those that are assisting me with this change of residence. The kindness of friends…the love of the brothers and sisters in the Lord…the goodness of our people…these gifts give me such hope for our future as a Diocese…..as we proclaim the Good News of the Risen Lord…as we live abundantly, as branches connected to the Vine of Life…the Lord.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)