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.
As I sit here in Ocean Shores looking out the window of Amazing Grace (the house we rent nearly every year during the Priest Days convocation at Ocean Shores), I am truly amazed by the wonderful things that God has done in the six years that I have been with you at St. Andrew and Ss. Cosmas and Damian. I came as a baby priest and have really grown up with you. This is what makes it hard to say goodbye; all the wonderful memories, the great relationships, the plans that were on the horizon, etc. All these things made my time in the beautiful Puyallup Valley fruitful and it seems as though it passed so rapidly. It is all these things that give me great hope as I move on to St. Anthony’s. I know that there are going to be great people there with whom I will connect, that there will be great memories made and relationships established. This makes it a bit easier to say goodbye, but it still hurts.
One of the priests I was talking to said saying goodbye to a community you love is like saying, “I’m your father and I’ve really enjoyed being your father, but you have a new father now.” There is no easy way to do it and we have the tendency to then not make ourselves available to the relationship that the Lord wants us to have with the new priest, or in my case the new parishioners. We say, “It’ll be easier if we don’t get to know them.” This is true and that’s why the enemy proposes it to us. Using this bit of truth he poisons our hearts to keep us from being vulnerable to Christ and the people that He wants to put in our lives so that in union with Him we might continue to grow.
If we didn’t love it wouldn’t hurt and the more we love the more it hurts. Jesus himself shows us the depths of His love in the gift of His very life. This is what He calls all of us to do as well. Through the gift of the Eucharist, from which all life and love flow, we are made part of the Body of Christ, the Church, a community that is united throughout the world and to the communion of saints and angels in heaven. From the Eucharist, in union with the Church, we learn to love precisely in that which breaks our hearts. Pay attention to these things and the stirrings in your heart. When tempted not to give of ourselves we need to ask why we are shrinking from this opportunity. Is it a lack of trust, a selfish desire, a fear of being hurt, doubt, etc?
BE NOT AFRAID! Keep your eyes on Christ and don’t begin to sink into the trap that the enemy has set. Jesus will be there to encourage and guide you every step of the way. This is why we need to stay close to Him in the Eucharist in our daily prayer, weekly attendance at Mass, and monthly confession.
I will continue to keep you in my heart and prayers every time I celebrate the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we will always be united and it is in the Eucharist that you will grow in relationship with your new pastor Fr. Jerry. I am so grateful for all the experiences I had while with you. Through them I grew and will continue to grow as I ponder the wonderful things the Lord has done while I have been with you over the past six years. Thank you for everything.
In the loving hearts of Jesus and Mary, Fr. Jack D. Shrum
For more of Father Jack's reflections click here