Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter April 22, 2007

Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter April 22, 2007

Jesus' Charge to St. Peter by William Morris Troutbeck

Follow me. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep.

Peter in today’s Easter Gospel gets his call within a call, a second calling from Our Lord.

Peter’s first calling, many years before this one, was to become a disciple of Jesus. Today Peter, despite his past sins and present imperfections, receives a second calling. He is now to be, not only a disciple, but a Shepherd, a Pastor, of Christ’s flock.

It is very appropriate that we read of Peter’s new calling to become a Pastor this weekend. That is because this past week, our pastor Fr. Blain received a letter from Bishop Tobin announcing to him who the next pastor of St. Joseph Parish will be after he retires at the end of June. I have a copy of the letter here; Fr. Blain has asked me to tell you the news.

The letter from Bishop Tobin states that, effective July 1, 2007, your new pastor is a priest by the name of (I want to make sure I say his name correctly):

Father Michael James Woolley!!!!

While I will be your pastor officially beginning July 1, Bishop Tobin will come to our parish on Sunday, August 12 and at the 10 a.m. Mass solemnly install me as pastor. We will afterwards have a little reception in the School Auditorium. You are all invited!

Believe me when I tell you that becoming your Pastor is to me on the magnitude of a Second Calling from Christ. Sixteen years ago, when I was a senior at URI majoring in Civil Engineering, I heard Jesus first say Follow Me — follow me into the priesthood.

And today, I’m now hearing Him say “Michael, do you love Me? Then Feed and Tend my sheep of St. Joseph Parish — all 4,200 of them!”

And this is something that I greatly look forward to doing for the next 6 years. Feeding you with the Holy Eucharist, and with the other sacraments, and with the Word of God. Tending especially to the children and young people in the parish; tending to the sick, the grieving, those struggling in their faith. And as Shepherd and Pastor, it will also fall on me to Keep the “corral,” these Church buildings, in good condition.

I’ll have more to say in the weeks to come, but I want today to thank Bishop Tobin for allowing me the privilege to serve you.

I also want to thank Fr. Blain for his encouragement and support. I’ve been very blessed to have had two great pastors in my 8 years of priesthood, Fr. Blain and Fr. Donnelly my pastor at my first assignment at St. Mark’s Cranston. And although he’ll be living at another parish in the city, Fr. Blain will always be welcome back to say Masses (especially on Wednesday Mornings, my day off!).

I especially want to thank all of you who have been praying for me and the parish this past month. Please keep up the prayers!

And the final word of thanks is to St. Joseph, for answering my prayers. I want St. Joseph to know that my prayers for his help have only just begun these next 6 years!!

The last thing I want to say is that it’s been a wonderful preparation these past four years being your assistant pastor, and remember, I remain only the assistant for the next 2 months. So up until June 30, any serious problems or complaints, please see Fr. Blain!

May Jesus Christ be praised through His Mother, in the people and priests of St. Joseph Parish. God Bless You.

One Response to “Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter April 22, 2007”

  1. Chris McGeehan says:

    Sincere thanks to Fr. Blain for a life-ministry Well Done !

    Thanks to Fr. Woolley for being such a fine parochial vicar and for eagarly accepting the call to pick up the mantle of pastor of our parish family.

    We share in your joy and will be interceeding for both of our beloved priestes as they transition to their new seasons of ministry.

    Warm regards — Chris & Suzanne