September 3, 2017
Dear Parishioners of St. James:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
The Diocese of Rockford wisely allows periodic
sabbaticals for the refreshment of her clergy. As I begin my 20th
year of priestly service, the Diocese has granted me a six-week
sabbatical from September 11-October 23 of this year. I will be
privileged to spend it in a cloistered monastery in upstate New
York where I can pray in a silent hermitage. My spirit is already
rejoicing with this upcoming time of prayer.
As the only full-time priest here for the past two years,
the workload and stress have accumulated. Fr. Schuessler had
to come out of retirement to serve the parish with me because of
the lack of priestly vocations. He will celebrate his
50th anniversary of ordination in December of this year, marking
an impressive milestone of service to Our Lord and His Church.
But since he will be here by himself during my sabbatical, please
respect his responsibility during my absence by limiting your time
with him to the celebration of the Sacraments. Personal
appointments will not be possible until I return in late October.
Sabbaticals make some of the faithful insecure enough
to start rumors. I am returning to the parish after the sabbatical.
I am not having a breakdown or a crisis. I am gratefully taking
advantage of a “use it or lose it” opportunity for time off in order
to complete the race that the Lord has given me to run. Although
I feel the accumulation of fatigue, taking the time to refresh in the
Lord will make me more fit to serve you for years to come.
I will certainly pray for you and Fr. Schuessler while
away and I count on your prayers, too. The silent prayer will be
most welcome in a beautiful and holy location in New York State.
Thank you for your fidelity to Our Lord here at St. James. See
you again in late October!
God bless you,