Sunday, September 28, 2008


I was instructed to call the pastor of Saint Sebastian, Father Karg, at a specified time later in the day. At the appointed time a call was placed and the secretary answered. I said, “This is Fr. Valencheck, is Fr. Karg available?” In a few moments Father answered the phone and said, “Is it you?! You are coming here!?” I thought he would have found out already but apparently I had broken the news. He was exceedingly kind and gracious and invited me over at the soonest possibility.

Soon tracks were made for Akron and the first glimpses of Saint Sebastian were had. The first visit was to be made to Jesus Himself. As quietly as possible I slipped into the back of the church to pray. Unfortunately the door chosen to sneak back out was locked. Trapped! And a man walked up and shook my hand and asked, “Are you the new priest?” I actually said no, not wanting to say until the pastor was met. But it was pretty useless.

Eventually an escape was made and the path to the rectory was found. The door was flung open and a welcome was hailed. “We knew the new guy was coming!” It took about 12 seconds for word to spread throughout the grounds and buildings and people were turning out to get a glimpse of the new guy. Soon Father was notified and he came out to welcome me to the parish. Nobody could ask for a better welcome. We went into his office and he started to introduce me to the inner workings of the parish. A walk was taken around the parish and many more introductions were made.

Here is where the odd part started. It suddenly came to mind that this is my new home. This is where I will live and work and these are the people to whom I will minister. This is my house, my address, and I am now an Akronite or at least I would be within a week. Thinking about it a bit more I suppose it is not so much different from those who are moved for their jobs or whatnot. But that did not make it any easier to get my mind around it. But it was exciting.


Anonymous said...

It was exciting for all of us too, we are so glad and Blessed to have you here.
Your homilies have been so good that we do hope that they will soon be on the parish wedsite for all to hear!
God Bless .....

Anonymous said...

Dear Father, When I realized that we did indeed have a pastor (not even knowing who it was to be), my heart was filled with joy. It was almost like hearing that we had a new pope--the Lord cares about us and knows our needs. Among the characteristics our parishioners were hoping for in a new pastor, "courage to take leadership," "decisive," having "a vision for the future," and "willingness to delegate and share authority" were mentioned. In addition was a pastor who was "computer and tech savvy." But another spoke of the need to have a "charismatic shepherd" with a "secondary" importance given to "administration." Another expressed a desire for a "relationship person" who would "get to know the families" in order to give spiritual direction. Someone else said that a "spiritual advisor" was a "priority."

Odysseus said...

-This is where I will live and work and these are the people to whom I will minister. This is my house, my address, and I am now an Akronite or at least I would be within a week.-

Huh. I never thought about this before. It's,like getting a new family, no?

Does it feel like being adopted?

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope it does feel like being adopted.

As I passed some beautiful Cleveland churches as we raced semis out there on 80-90 (I think) the other day, and again yesterday (which is the church with the twin turrets --how calming an effect it has!), I prayed for Cleveland priests, Akron priests, and Priests and Religious of all of Ohio, not least of all the Bishops. Before that, we saw every cornfield in the whole world (and I didn't spot a Fr. V-painted barn and rued the lack), and saw a wondrous shrine in the midst of it all down in Bellevue. Son picked up a religious medal of Mother Mary Brunner --it's in the truck. I have to go Google her, now, but I wanted to say you all were prayed for recently.