Some of the people in my parish already know that I have applied and been approved for a sabbatical this coming year. It means, first of all, that some time in the near future I will be replaced as pastor of St. Elias, reattached to another parish, and then begin the sabbatical tasks, namely resting, renewing, completing a Master’s degree, and reading and studying deeply on Liturgy.
Don’t get me wrong. I love St. Elias. These are good people who have stood firm in the Faith through many years and will continue to grow and thrive. It’s just sometimes you know its time. My task was to prepare them for the good things yet to come. We have extensively remodeled the building. There are new families with children in the parish. With a little intentionality this can be a thriving parish. But I am tired.
A thousand miles or more of travel a month, three years with no days off, one vacation a year, it was all worth it because the people of St. Elias are worth it. Yet I need to rest and I believe that the next Priest will find an even better parish to serve while I take time not just to serve God, which is a good in itself, but also enjoy Him and renew those ties and that passion which brought me to the altar in the first place.
There are details to be worked out, it won’t happen all at once. Yet I’m ready for the next thing even as my prayers, and my heart will always be with St. Elias.