Dear Fellow Parishioners,
This week, I have some welcome news, and some not-so-welcome news.
The welcome news is that our Office Manager, Kim Williams, continues to recover from her recent stroke with intensive physical therapy. I am happy to report that her progress has been so positive that she will be able to continue her rehabilitation at home. Initially, Kim was expecting a much longer stay at the rehab facility, so this news is most welcome. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.
The less-than-welcome news is that Fr. Andrew Pacheco has been appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Fort Bragg, effective Monday, October 4th. Initially, this move was merely one of a number of possibilities, so I put it out of my mind as something that might not happen. However, as the summer months passed, his promotion to a pastorate looked more likely due to the difficulty in finding pastors for the 42 parishes of this diocese. Much as I lament his departure, I respect and admire his willingness to respond to this assignment with generosity and readiness to serve where asked.
I knew from the start that a priest of Fr. Pacheco’s caliber would not be with us forever, but I hoped his time here could have been longer. His contribution to our parish and schools has been beyond praise in every area– from his reverent liturgies and thoughtful preaching, his attention to the devotional life of the parish, his ministry to the sick and hearing Confessions, and his care for the Hispanic community. The way Fr. Pacheco instantly and so completely became a part of this community is all the more remarkable considering all the barriers COVID-19 has imposed on nearly every area of parish life during his entire time at St. Vincent’s.
While no person can be replaced, I am happy to welcome Fr. Thomas Stuart as our Parochical Vicar, also effective on October 4th. Fr. Stuart was raised in Occidental, and is currently serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Santa Rosa. He is newly ordained, and this will be only his second parish assignment. I will ask him to submit a mini-biography for the bulletin, so that we can all get to know him better. I have met him, and am looking forward to working with him.
Finally, I want to thank you, our parishioners, for the welcome you have extended to the four priests who have joined us after my arrival. One of the stated purposes of assignments soon after ordination is to provide continued mentoring for young priests. The fact that St. Vincent’s is considered a suitable and hospitable place for this to happen is far more to your credit than mine, and I am most grateful.
Fr. Bill Donahue