This weekend the time has come to say goodbye to Fr. Kris who has been our Associate Pastor for the past 6 years. He arrived here as a newly ordained priest and leaves here a beloved priest. He has had a vast array of pastoral experiences during his time here. I personally will miss his quiet presence and faithful service. We wish him god-speed as he goes to study Canon Law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. And may he know that he will always remain in our hearts and prayers. May God Bless You, Fr. Kris!
This will be the first time since 1935 that St. Mary Parish will not have an Associate Pastor. Hopefully this will be just a blip in our history. We need to pray and encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
We are very blessed to have an extended pastoral staff which we didn’t have back in 1935. Fr. Thomas Unz, a retired priest of the Archdiocese, and Fr. Brian Tabor SJ, a faculty member of St. Ignatius High School, will be helping out with the weekend masses as will Fr. Banzin. During the week we will have morning mass on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. On Thursday and Friday our Deacons will celebrate Communion Service. I am sure there will be other adjustments as we enter into this new era.
I have never served in a parish with only one priest…there have always been two or three priests on staff. I have to say I’m a little nervous about all of this but trust the Spirit will assist in working it all out.
Some interesting figures as we go forth:
Archdiocese of Chicago Clergy Data as of November 25, 2017
Average age of clergy is 63
Number of Active Priests: 576
Retired Priests: 70 and older – 223
Clergy beyond retirement age but still serving: 55
Foreign Born Clergy: 182
Number of Parishes: 344 + 10 Missions
Estimated active Priests in 5 years (2023) 339; in 10 years (2028) 315