There are a number of changes scheduled to take place in the coming weeks as we close the fiscal year on June 30th. It is the time that new priest assignments take place and we will see quite a few changes within the Saint Cloud area. Our Area Catholic Community will see some differences as well. Fr. Tom Skaja, one of the newly ordained priests of the diocese, will be assigned as parochial vicar to St. Michael and St. Joseph, while also assisting as sacramental administrator for the Spanish Mass at St. Andrew’s in Elk River.
Though the assignment officially is to just two parishes of our ACC, the goal is that we priests can all work together and cover for one another. I imagine that Fr. Tom will be present in all our parishes and share his ministry with us. He will surely have an opportunity to introduce himself soon and share his story with us. Please warmly welcome him into our communities and offer him your prayers and support as he continues to learn and teach.
Part of the reason for Fr. Tom’s appointment is because of the uncertainty revolving around Fr. Oswaldo, who had been helping us previously. Fr. Oswaldo had returned to Venezuela to deal with government paperwork and was there when the COVID-19 shutdowns began. From what I understand, travel is not permitted from where he is and we do not know when or if he will be able to return. Please continue to pray for him and his safety, as well as the people of our sister diocese of Maracay, Venezuela.
The weekend Mass schedule in our ACC will also be changing for the first weekend of July (July 4th and 5th). A letter briefly explaining these changes was sent to all parishioners and will be available at parish offices on request. The new Mass times are intended for the upcoming year. We hope to receive thoughts and feedback from parishioners so as to continue to adjust and adapt to meet the needs of as many people as possible within the limitations of available resources. There should be a mailbox with writing material at each of our parish churches that can be used to drop a note or suggestion, or you can write a letter or e-mail to your pastor at any time.
We are not the only ones going through these changes at this time. Many clusters are being altered and new assignments of pastors will be taking place. The schedule for Masses will change in many locations. Change is often difficult, and I am sure it will be a challenge for many people. But it is important that we root ourselves in what does not change – God’s love for us. It is that love and our faith that brings us together as one body in Christ in his Church. May his grace continue to sustain us in all we do, help us to grow in holiness, and come to the glory of his kingdom.