Fr. Brian's Retirement

03-10-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

In the last week I received a letter from Cardinal Sean in which he informed me that I will be able to retire from the role of Pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish and become a Retired Senior Priest around the early part of this coming June, 2023. I am over 74 years old and during this June I am rushing even closer towards 75 years of age. I am shocked to realize at this point that I have been a priest for almost 49 years and am now one of the “old priests” of the Archdiocese. I know that endings are necessary as are beginnings. I began my priestly service at Saint Mary’s almost 14 years ago. When and where did all the time go? Certainly my heart and head are caught up in a giant jumble of feelings and emotions.

I find it all emotionally difficult and conflicting to start this period of time which will lead me to the end my active priestly service and presence at Mary’s. I think about how much has happened: the many Sunday Masses (over 4000), the approximately 3500 young who were confirmed, the approximately 3500 who received the First Eucharist (First Communion), the almost 2,500 Baptisms of young children and sadly the almost 2000 Funeral Masses/Burials and Prayer Services/Burials throughout all these years. Indeed well over 1200 people have received the Sacrament of the Sick (“emergency anointing”). If the Business Manager tracked the Invoices for Hosts for Communion, we would learn that well over 1.2 million Sacred Hosts have been distributed at Mass. All these numbers do mean something quantitatively, but what cannot be measured as qualitatively by statistics is my pastoral caring and effort to bring and share with people the grace, hope, light and strength of Jesus Christ, or simply said: to share our faith in Jesus in our Catholic Way of Life. I have strived in my priestly service to bring some of the light and joy of God to those who have been searching, or lost, or hurt or just trying to live a life of a decent Catholic each day. I recognize that I am imperfect and have made mistakes or offended some folks at times, and I do apologize. I think folks know that what is in our heart and what we do as a result are often the two hidden themes in my regular preaching. These two themes are what we should be about as Catholics and believers.

I anticipate my retirement and leaving Saint Mary’s in early June. My leaving will be determined by the appointment date/arrival of my successor (who will not be determined for a good while). My intention for retirement is to live for a good part of the year at the family home in Falmouth and continue to assist on a part-time and as needed basis in parishes which are in need of priestly help in our Archdiocese.

The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) will be assisting in the transition. They will be meeting to prepare a letter which will provide direction and insight about our Parish for the Clergy Personnel Office headed by an Episcopal Vicar and Clergy Personnel Board which is composed of priests who advise the Vicar and Cardinal on Pastoral Appointments. Along with and assisted by the Parish Staff I will be filling out informational forms on our Parish which will assist the Vicar for Ministerial Personnel and the Board in seeking to recommend “the best possible fit” to the Cardinal for appointment here at Saint Mary Parish.

I am very sad in many ways to think about leaving Saint Mary’s and all you wonderful folks. I guess as I often say that we are supposed to walk along with Jesus, I would now say that I will be beginning a new walk with Him.

Prayer provides us comfort and strength. Pray for me as I pray for you.

God bless,
Father Brian