Saturday, 14 March 2020
I was planning on taking a retreat the week of March 2-6. Well, two hours after I arrived at the Abbey where I was going to spend some nice quiet time with Jesus and take some wonderful rejuvenating naps, I was on the road back to Savannah!
My attempt at retreat was dashed by a phone call from our bishop telling me that Pope Francis appointed him as the next Archbishop of Atlanta. I knew it was a possibility that he would go, but I didn’t expect it to spoil my retreat plans! Last year, on the first day of retreat news arrived of Archbishop Wilton Gregory being transferred from Atlanta to Washington, DC. My stomach turned when I heard it. One year later, my stomach turned again with the phone conversation with Archbishop Hartmayer.
When news like this comes to me, I am placed under the Pontifical Secret which means that I cannot tell anyone. I returned to Savannah and hid out so that I could prepare everything that needed to be done –press conference, press release, documents on what is the next step for the diocese, etc…. It was a long week with the announcement on Thursday and the press conference in Savannah on Friday. Overall, it went smoothly.
Many people have asked what this means for me as the Vicar General. That office for me will cease on May 6th when the Archbishop is installed in Atlanta. However, I am a member of a group of priests called the College of Consultors for the Diocese of Savannah. There are 10 of us. We will gather together on a particular day sometime between May 6th and May 14th to elect a priest to be the Diocesan Administrator. This priest is to make sure that the day to day operations of the diocese continue until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop and he is installed.
Through all this transition, please pray for Archbishop Hartmayer, the Diocese of Savannah, and the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Pray also for our new bishop as well, whomever it might be. We all need grace and strength during this time of transition.
The next steps for the Diocese of Savannah can be seen on the Bulletin Insert.
Nearly 50 of our young men and women received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Thursday evening! What a gift! As they go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit, pray that the gifts that they receive may be increasingly manifest in their lives.
That same day, Thursday, March 12th, Archbishop Hartmayer blessed us with his attendance at a reception and spoke to Parish Pastoral Council members, Finance Council members, School Board members, and Parish Staff. It was a lovely reception! We wish him the best and much success in Atlanta!
Sign of Peace
Brothers and sisters, as you know, we have ceased the distribution of the Precious Blood due to precautions needing to be taken during this flu season and with the Coronavirus. We will also be omitting the Sign of Peace. Both of these will be brought back into Holy Mass when the flu season subsides and the threat of Coronavirus diminishes. Meanwhile, stay healthy!
Once again, I invite everyone to participate in a survey called Disciple Maker Index. This survey is accessible online from our website (www.stjamessav.com), from our Facebook page, and at www.disciplemakerindex.com.
This survey will give us information we need about how the Parish can better serve you in your discipleship of Jesus Christ. There are things our parish does quite well and there are areas where we can definitely grow. The survey will ask about your spiritual life and growth and how the parish is assisting in this. This survey is anonymous. Neither I nor the priests nor our pastoral staff will see the individual surveys. So, if an area that you see can use improvement is the pastor’s homily, I will not see who wrote that (though it will probably be me!). Please complete the 10-15 minute survey and then encourage others to complete it! The more participation, the better we can plan! Thank you for your participation!
May the Lord Jesus bless you and your families this Lenten Season!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin