Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, May 20

This is a time of transitions. This weekend we celebrate graduation at UT. After four (or more) years of work, study, learning and testing the class of 2012 graduates to even bigger responsibilities, challenges and hopefully rewards. CONGRATULATIONS to all university, college, high school and grammar school grads!

This weekend also is a BIG transition for three Paulist seminarians who were ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19 in St. Paul the Apostle Church (the Mother Church of the Paulists) in New York City. One of those three is Tom Gibbons, CSP, who spent the better part of a year – his pastoral year – here as part of his seminary training. A contingent of our parishioners has gone to New York to participate in his ordination and wish Tom well. He will soon be taking up his first assignment as a Paulist priest at St. Peter’s Parish in Toronto, Ontario. It promises to be cooler than his Austin experience: I speak of course of the temperature, not the cultural setting! Also ordained this weekend is RenĂ© Constanza, CSP, who will be joining us here on the parish staff of St. Austin in early July. Fr RenĂ© is originally from the country of Belize in Central America, so I am hoping that he will have an easier time adjusting to the Austin summer heat. We will see.

A somewhat sadder transition is that Mrs. Kathy Airel, our Director of Religious Education (DRE) for the last two years, is retiring at the end of this week. Kathy has done a wonderful job, especially with the Confirmation program. We are truly blest to have had her ministry in our parish for two years and even more blessed in that she will remain as a parishioner and volunteer in our Religious Education Program. However, she will have more time for family and her own interests. THANK YOU KATHY for a great job!

Taking on the job of DRE is Mrs. Marti Salas. She begins this week so that she and Kathy will have a week of overlap. We welcome Marti and are excited about the gifts and experience she brings to the Religious Education program at St. Austin. You can read more about her in her self-introduction below. WELCOME MARTI!

And of course today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, a big day of transition for the Risen Jesus and a big day of transition for the early disciples. Jesus ascends into Heaven, bringing to a close His historical career on earth, and the disciples must now learn to rely on Jesus’ presence in the Holy Spirit rather than in physical and tangible ways. It is a big change but a positive one, preparing for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the rapid expansion of the Church. Happy Ascension Day!

Transitions, because they involve change, are usually difficult, but they also can be signs of growth, such as in graduation, ordination, retirement, a new staff member or even Ascension! We are not yet at our final destination. We still have work to do. We have growth to accomplish. We have miles to go yet. So enjoy the transitions. Enjoy the journey! 

God bless! 

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