Although I am a Benedict monk by spiritual formation and vows, I have lived much of my adult life not as a monk, but as an evangelist and missionary in the Church, making the name “Paul” fitting given my vocation. Apparently, such active ministry is not to be the end of the matter. Now, under concerns of my abbot and the English Abbot President, I am apparently to be placed on track to become a hermit in the Church. So I shall gradually grow into the name I was given at birth: William (after William the hermit). Let me add that I am confident that Bishop Michael, my abbots, and I will work out a reasonable course of action, so that I will not suddenly be uprooted from my present assignment. If I am to become a hermit, however, I better grow once again in my love of silence and solitude. In the meantime, as a distant disciple of the Apostle Paul, I know that “I have not yet completed the task to which the Lord assigned me.” I am gladly obligated to tend brothers and sisters in Christ, faithfully presenting the gospel and assisting in growth in union with Christ Jesus.
One of the pastoral concerns on my heart has been our neglect of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I will give the matter thought in coming weeks, and consider ways to offer this beneficial Sacrament especially during November and Advent, then again during Lent. My preference is for parishioners to make an appointment to meet with me for the Sacrament.
Presently I am not teaching adult faith class because I do not have a suitable question or text in mind. Still, I remain conscious of the need to offer some classes in continuing faith formation.
Finally, what do I say on my 25th anniversary of priestly ordination? I feel duty-bound to thank God for the gift of priesthood, and especially for the chance to minister to the faithful in Christ. Being a priest, or a minister, never crossed my mind in childhood or youth; I wanted to be a politician! After my conversion to Christ as a college student, my heart was enflamed to preach, and my mind was inspired to seek to understand spiritual experiences. I became a Catholic with the intention of serving as a priest; and I entered the monastery to live in peace seeking God. This much remains clear to me: Unless I am truly seeking God, what do I have to share with others as a priest in the Church? For each of us, the longing for God, and responses to His grace, must be the grounding for our various vocations. “Because I live, you live also.”