A NOTE FROM FR. JOHN……
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!! Although this is not the Christmas season we wanted, we seek the graces and blessings God offers to us. We pray that 2021 is a much better year for everyone — and this is something we make a choice to do each day by loving and serving those around us no matter what the circumstances we all face. Let us offer joy, hope, peace and love in extra abundance this new year!!
THE ACTIVATION OF OUR FAMILY OF PARISHES
I can now officially announce that Bishop Fabbro has decided that our St. John the Divine and St. George Family of Parishes will be activated in July 2021. This is an exciting time for both parishes that have been working very hard since the end of August in preparation. As I have said over the last several months, some things will stay the same and some things will change, but I truly believe that we will be stronger, better and more powerful signs of God’s presence in this world together than we were ever apart. Go to www.buildingfamily.ca and see all the work that has been done so far with regards to the planning and implementation of our family of parishes.
THE APPOINTMENT OF NEW LEADERSHIP
With the activation of the family set for July 2021, we embark into a new era for both communities as they work together seeking to form disciples reaching out to all— this includes a new pastor for our family. I am very happy to announce that Fr. Michael Bechard, pastor of Christ the King Parish, London and chaplain to King’s University College will lead this new family beginning July 5th, 2021. He is also the Director of Liturgy for the diocese and chair of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission. Fr. Bechard is a gifted, energetic and wise pastor with many gifts that together with both parish staffs and parishioners will shine the light of grace ever more brightly!! This is great news for our new family!! Welcome Fr. Bechard!!
I am also happy to announce that Fr. Pedro Zuniga has been appointed the associate pastor of the family and will serve along with Fr. Bechard and the combined staff to build this amazing family together.
MOVING FORWARD WITH GREAT GRATITUDE
I would also like to announce that I am being appointed pastor of the Chatham Catholic Family of Parishes beginning July 5th, 2021. This family of 5 parishes (St. Joseph, St. Ursula, Blessed Sacrament, St. Agnes & Our Lady of Victory [Polish parish]) was one of two pioneer family of parishes that began the entire process that we ourselves are entering in 2021. I am looking forward to serving the people of Chatham and working with the wonderful staff there.
By the end of June 2021, I will have served the people of St. George for 9 amazing years!! Together, we have been able to develop so many innovative ministries and programs to share the Good News, form disciples and continue to reach out to those in need, the lost and the forgotten. It truly has been a graced time for me to be here at St. George and most recently working with the staff from St. John the Divine. What a great future both parishes have as one family moving forward!!
I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving for the dedicated staff I have had the privilege to serve with and for all the faithful of St. George that have had to put up with me over these many years.
I thank God for the opportunity to be with all of you and will pray that the journey ahead will be one filled with light, peace and joy serving God by serving others.
There is still work to be done and so we continue over the next 6 months together. You will see and hear from Fr. Bechard in the next several weeks as we begin the transition. I will continue to support in every way I can helping both parishes come together as a family and assist Fr. Bechard in anything he needs.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!