A Note From Fr. Eric
Dear St. Paul’s,
In life we have all grown accustomed to different types of goodbyes. There are the tearful and sad ones, the ones which haunt us, the ones which give us relief, the ones which are a blessing, the ones which “aren’t really goodbyes” and the ones which stick with us. There are so many types of goodbyes we face in life — some are temporary and some are final, some are good and some are bad. I have been reflecting on what it means to say a “good goodbye” and I have been fascinated by the many things which go into saying just such a one. It doesn’t take too much for a priest to make a good goodbye, just a bit of work. To me there are three parts to a good goodbye.
1. Tying Up Some Loose Ends
These last several weeks I have been saying many goodbyes. I attended my final Vestry meeting, I chaired my final Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting, I led my final Youth Group meeting, typed my final sermon for St. Paul’s, and I presided at my final Morning Meditation. To me a good goodbye is about tying up the many loose ends as best I can. I have certainly learned that clergy often create many threads. Any good clergyman knows that ministry does not happen in isolation, rather it happens alongside of and with many people. As such, it is important to bring about closure to the many projects I have been working on. I feel I have done a good job in tying up my loose ends here at St. Paul’s.
2. Remembering and Reflecting
Any clergyman needs to do some diligent remembering and reflecting before his final day. My goodbye is accompanied by a lot of expectation and excitement as I move into a new town, a new house, and start a new call.Before I can move on I must reflect on my time here with each of you.As I reflect back on the last year and a half with St. Paul’s I am left with many feelings of gratitude.I am especially grateful that each of you allowed me to minister to you and alongside of you.St. Paul’s has taught me a great deal about what it means to be a parish priest, and has formed me well for my next ministry as rector.I have looked back on my many accomplishments and my many learning moments too.I am lucky to have served alongsidewonderful clergy and staff who have pushed and pulled me in many directions of understanding, and I hope I have done the same to them in return.
3. Making it Final (The Hardest Part)
I will be saying goodbye to each of you this Sunday at my last service here at St. Paul’s. I will also be preaching my final sermon to you.After this Sunday I will be quarantining before our baby is born, after which I will be taking a parental leave. By mid January Emily and I and our newborn will be moving from Connecticut. I will no longer have any contact with St. Paul’s on its social media sites (facebook or YouTube), and I will no longer be a curate to any of you. It would be inappropriate for me to maintain any pastoral relationship or to offer any of you pastoral care as a priest after my departure. This is always the most difficult part, because you have allowed me to minster to you and I will miss this relationship.
If I do not get to see each of you this Sunday I want you to know that it has been an honor to be a priest here at St. Paul’s, and that I have enjoyed every minute!
May God bless each of you,
Father Eric E. Fialho+