The week ahead is one filled with mixed emotions. It is with a genuine sense of sadness that we bid farewell to Fr. Shibi Pappan. In the brief space of two years, he has left the mark of his dedication, his generous ministry, and his joyful spirit in all our hearts. His dedication is evident in the fact that as a member of the religious community, The Order of the Imitation of Christ (known in his native India as the Bethany Ashram) he left his homeland and came to a strange country, with very different customs and adapted to American ways so that he could better serve the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people of our diocese. Here in St. Joseph’s we have had the benefit of his insightful homilies, his presence to our parish school and religious education program, the Tuesday Morning Sunday Scripture Group, his compassionate care for the sick and homebound, to name a few of his contributions. He will be missed! But we are happy for him.
He has been called by Bishop Barres to assume the duties of Administrator of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, Hicksville. And we are confident that he is more than up to the job! We hope that he will return for a Sunday Mass and social some time in the future, when we can gather more properly, express our appreciation, and personally wish him blessings in his ministry.
And this week, we welcome Msgr. Bill Koenig, who will be in residence in St. Joseph’s. He was ordained in 1983 and has extensive experience on parish ministry and diocesan offices. He comes to us after his term of service as Rector of St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, as he assumes new responsibilities as the Vicar of Clergy Personnel, serving the priests, deacons, and faithful of our diocese. We look forward to sharing liturgy and parish life with him as he settles in, and we get to know him and he us.
Our hearts and prayers go with Fr. Shibi. Our arms open wide to welcome Msgr. Koenig.
And one last note about Fr. Hillary Nwajagu, whom we await as our new associate pastor. We have not received definite word when he will arrive in the United States. We earnestly hope that the specifics can be worked out and we can welcome him soon.