This post is meant to be a heads up and an invitation. For the next couple months, my posts will be less frequent. As of July 1st, I will be the Pastor of St. Joseph’s parish in Menomonie, Wisconsin. It is a dynamic collection of three ministries – 1,000 families, a preK – 6 grade school (their school mascot is a baby kangaroo – makes me smile every time I think about it), and the Newman Center serving the students of the University of Wisconsin – Stout and Western Technical College. It is a BIG undertaking and a definite workload increase from my current assignment at Roncalli Newman – University Parish serving the students of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and Western Technical College (WTC is a blanket name for a network of tech schools in Wisconsin). As I pull out the boxes to move, if you wouldn’t mind throwing in a prayer or two for me, my current assignment, and my future assignment, I would greatly appreciate it.
The Roncalli Newman Parish – La Crosse, Wisconsin.
So, you may be asking why I share all this with you? In the bizarre world of assignment changes, we priests often find ourselves in the awkward space of letting go of a parish we have come to love while preparing to embrace a new ministerial challenge. Part of that embrace is to prayerfully ask, “How do my gifts best serve my new assignment?” One gift I have been blessed to explore with you is my love of astronomy. This past year, I have been a participate of the Vatican Observatory Foundation’s Faith and Astronomy Workshop, I have star gazed with impoverished youth in Peru, and I was part of a tandem presentation on faith and science with Dr. Curt Czerwinski at UW-La Crosse. When I take these experiences and think of my new assignment, I see many ways of incorporating my love of astronomy into my future ministry. That being said, I thought it would make an interesting discussion to invite you to be part of my discernment. In that spirit…
DISCUSSION: If you had a pastor who loves astronomy and were in a parish with 1,000 families, a grade school, and a University Newman Center, what programs would you encourage him to do for the parish? What should he do with the grade school kids? What should he do with the parishioners? What should he do with the college kids? If there was ever a post I hoped would get flooded with responses, this is the post. Go for it!! I’d love to hear your ideas.