My dear St. Charles Parishioners,
I write this letter to you with a mixture of so many emotions. At this time I wish to share with you my recent letter to our bishop, Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski. After much prayerful discernment I wrote to him on February 1, 2017 with the request that he accept my decision to retire as of May 1, 2017. He has offered his support and acceptance.
This has not been an easy decision yet after much prayer it has been a peaceful time of discernment and resolve. My age and my health raise issues now that must become a priority in the years that lie ahead.
Words cannot convey to you the joy and the graces with which I have been blessed to be your pastor these past twenty-seven years. I share with you the words of blessing spoken during the Mass of ordination. Then, as a young priest, and now as your priest and pastor, each word assists me as I share with you my reflections at this time. They have been words of blessing, of challenge and, I hope, words of fulfillment as I reflect and plan now for my retirement. Jeremiah, the prophet, (3:15) wrote: “I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.” I pray that they are words of fulfillment in my priesthood and in these years spent with you as your priest and pastor.
It is time for me now to take the next turn on my journey. Please pray with me once again from the liturgy of priestly ordination. “O God, who have willed that your Priests should minister at the holy altar and serve your people, grant by the power of this sacrifice, we pray, that the labors of your servants may constantly please you and in your Church bear that fruit which lasts for ever.” Dear friends, my ministry among you has been a joy.
May we continue to share in a joyful spirit the continuation of our journey that leads to His embrace, His guidance and His company on the journey.
With gratitude, affection and my blessing,
Fr. Peter A. Gregory