Around this time six years ago, I was in Rome and about to return to San Jose. I received a call asking me if I would agree to be the pastor here at St. Martin. At first I was surprised because I was used to working in bilingual parishes. With all the excitement of working with people again after years of seeing only books, I accepted with happiness.
Since the beginning, all of you were nice to me. Fr. Abe has been an excellent brother priest to me and a guide for this community. We have accomplished many things together. We have walked together through baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings and funerals and in every single moment, I felt the support and love of all of you.
This place is amazing. Each one of you make this parish and this community a welcome place for every one. I’m certain that you will always be that way, no matter who the pastor will be. I just collect what others have sewn.
St. Martin is the place that I have lived the longest in my life since I left my home when I was 17 years old. I love this place and I love each one of you. I always will, no matter where I am.
The time has come to continue to do the work of God in another place. Please don’t think for a moment that it is easy to leave this parish and start again in other place. I also know that it will not be easy for you to get used to your new pastor. But what kind of people would we be if we are not ready to embrace a moment like this with understanding, acceptance, kindness and a smile. Our faith and our church is some thing that goes beyond St. Martin and is some thing bigger than us.
As I leave in July, I am asking that you support the new pastor. I can tell you that if you give him just half of the love that you gave me, he will be the happiest pastor here in San Jose. But I know that this community will not give just half of their heart, you will give him every thing.