My weekend was fairly uneventful to start. I got some surprising news on Wednesday, but at that time I wasn't sure what the impact would be.
Saturday we had an appointment to look at wedding invitations. We found something we both liked and decided on fonts for the lettering. We also got a price quote for everything, the invitations themselves, all the necessary envelopes, RSVP cards, Thank you cards, table seating cards, and probably a number of other things. The cost wasn't nearly as high as I was expecting. Some of that could still change, we still have a lot of other decisions to make. But it shouldn't change too much.
We also got 50 minutes of exercise in after lunch on Saturday. It was clear and the temp was around 40. Chris knew it was supposed to rain later, so we went off to the Arboretum and walked for almost an hour. It started raining shortly after I got home. Since then the temps have dropped (it's about 19 degrees right now) significantly. I'm trying not to spend too much time outside.
This morning I got to Mass just as it was starting. I grabbed a bulletin and joined Chris in the pew just in time for the processional. Wednesday evening I had a Faith Formation Committee meeting. At the end of that meeting the chair announced that since we are a committee who is supposed to be supporting the educational outlets of the parish as well as looking at future directions for current groups as well as future groups, she wanted to let us all know that an announcement would be made this weekend that the Rector of the Parish would be leaving at the end of June. I was totally floored!!
So at Mass this morning, Father Paul gets up to do his homily and as he starts talking I grabbed the bulletin to look at his weekly letter. I'm thankful I had warning that something was coming. In the bulletin I notice that not only is he leaving but that he'll be in California on a sabbatical at a seminary there from mid-September to early-December. He used his homily to explain why he was leaving and to let us all know what he hopes to accomplish. My first thought however, was my wedding.
Anyway, Father Paul has not only been a great priest for the parish of Christ the King, coming at a time when things were in a bit of an upheaval and working hard for several years to bring trust back into this huge parish, but he has been a great priest for me. He is the first priest in my life that I can honestly say I had some sort of a relationship with. We weren't exactly friends, but he knew who I was, he knew what I was involved in at the Parish, he knew I was someone to count on (he volunteered me for the Faith Formation Committee I mentioned earlier), and he was someone I knew I could go to if I needed to. At one point in my life I was very down and I didn't know how to get out of the slump I was in. I had started attending daily mass before that happened and I kept myself going during that rough time. I felt most at home at those masses when Father Paul was presiding, and when I was very down his homilies were always what I needed to hear.
Chris and I spoke to Father Paul after Mass this morning and we got a chance to speak with him again briefly tonight when we went back to church for the monthly Sunday Supper. We do have to find a new priest for our wedding, but it was comforting to have him tell us that our wedding is one that he will particularly miss being at. I've done a lot of crying today (hey, I'm an emotional person, I'll admit it), but I know that Father Paul will return to our diocese in mid-December and although he will not be at our church, I hope we'll still see him. Maybe he'll be able to baptise our first child.
While he is away from pastoral duties during the last six months of 2007 he hopes to do some thinking and writing, in particular he is interested in exploring the option of doing a book. I pray that he will accomplish all that he is setting out to do and I ask everyone out there to also keep him in your prayers as he explores these options and grows more in his life as a priest.
As for our wedding, I'm sad that Father Paul will not be there. I had imagined him being the priest to marry me even before Chris and I started dating. Although this will now not be possible, we will have still get married and we will find a priest who will do an excellent job. I will most miss just having Father Paul at our church. I'm sad but also happy for him as he starts a new chapter in his life and I wish him the best of luck.