Our mission at St. Andrew Catholic Church is to become saints.
Following the example of our patron, St. Andrew, with humility we seek to:
Hear God’s call through the truth of the Catholic Church
Respond in love with acts of charity and mercy
Grow continuously through the sacraments and daily prayer and
Proclaim the Good News through our vocation.
In these days after Easter, there are many priests who celebrate their anniversaries. One of these distinguished men is a dear friend and one of my mentors, Fr. Joseph Petosa. On the 21st of May he will celebrate 60 years of priesthood. He is the only one of his class who is still here to celebrate with us on earth. The rest will be celebrating with the Eternal High Priest as they have all passed from this life. I have been so blessed to be able to know this venerable priest and to glean so much from his wisdom and knowledge. With 60 years comes much experience. After nearly 7 years full of great and challenging experiences, I can only imagine what the years ahead have in store, however many they may be.
With this in mind, it is strange this year as it is the first year that there are no ordinations to the priesthood here in Seattle since I have been involved in the seminary program. With no ordinations this summer and several priests retiring, it is going to be tight for the next few years. Currently we are working on a Pastoral Planning Project for the Archdiocese of Seattle. You may be aware of dioceses back east that have taken drastic measures and closed several parishes due to lack of priests and population changes in the cities. Here in Seattle, we are making a plan for these lean years that are approaching. In the past we had priests coming from Ireland to supplement the local vocations. Today our Irish priests are retiring and the foreign priests are fewer. Archbishop Sartain wants to involve each parish in this process.
Here in the Pierce County Deanery we have been talking about this process for the past year and we will be inviting more parish participation in the meetings that will be taking place in June and then as the deanery reconvenes in the fall. We will have representation from the staff and from the pastoral council at these meetings. Archbishop Sartain wants the input of the people from the parishes in this process and he is very positive in his outlook as we begin. Trusting in God’s providence, we know that we will have as many priests as we need. That’s to say we may have less priests than we have had in the past, but that is what is prompting us to look at things differently and to make a plan for what’s ahead. This is what the process is all about. Archbishop Sartain is positive in his assessment of the situation and has encouraged us all to focus on the good things that are happening and to continue to pray for and to promote vocations in our parishes. Vocations to the priesthood come from our families and if our families are not promoting vocations, then the situation may get worse before it gets better. In all this I know that God will provide and that it will all be according to His will.
Although we do not have any men being ordained to the priesthood this year, we have four men being ordained to the Diaconate; Kyle Manglona, Michael Dion, Cody Ross, and Patrick Sherrard. Kyle, Michael, and Cody have all been through St. Andrew at some point on their journey to the priesthood and I am sure they would love to see you at their ordination. Cody, who has been sponsored by our Knights of Columbus for many years, is first up on May 23 at 10am at Holy Family in Kirkland. Then we will celebrate Kyle’s ordination at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Spanaway on June 27 at 10am (Amy and our choir will be singing). Lastly, Michael will be ordained in Rome at St. Peter’s on October 3. I am hoping to make plans and attend all three. I have the local ones on my calendar already and am looking to make arrangements to go to Rome in September.
In these days between Ascension and Pentecost the whole Church is in prayer, in anticipation for the coming of the Advocate, the One Jesus promised to send to guide us into the way of peace. I encourage you to join the Church in her prayers and to make the Novena in these days with Our Lady and the apostles for the coming of the Holy Spirit into your life in a new way and to stir up the fire of God’s love in the hearts of our youth, especially those to be confirmed shortly. Pray that the gifts of the Spirit will impel us to seek His will and give our lives in loving service in union with Christ.
Keep praying the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard.
Fr. Jack D. Shrum
For more of Father Jack's reflections click here