Fr. Steven Roth
So what is our new pastor going to be like? Let me take a few minutes today to answer that question. For me, as your pastor, everything I will do and say will be rooted in one thing…family. Being appointed as your pastor, I see myself being invited to become part of your family. Just as in any healthy family, each member of the family has a different role, but no one person is more important. With the mindset that I’m now becoming a member of your family, families need to know each other. The reality, however, is that I don’t know you and you don’t know me yet. So here is what I’m asking. I want to begin to be part of your lives. I want to have the privilege to talking with you over a meal, maybe walking through your neighborhood, or sitting down with a cup of coffee. For the children of the parish, I want you to invite me to your games or when important moments are going on in your schools. I want to know when members of this family are sick so that I can visit them at home or wherever. I want to hear about the old stories of why you are here. I want to be a part of all of these moments because that’s how families grow together.
I want to be close to you, my new family, because when families are close, they can accomplish great things! As one family, I want to help lead you in doing the wonderful ministries already present and dare to dream of doing even more. We need to be close, too, because there will be tough days to get through. Our family may face some hardships whether it is through sickness, job loss, relationships falling apart or so many other things that make life complicated. I want to be close in my new family because there will be days that we will need to work together to make sense of challenging parts of our world today. I want to be close to this new family of mine because there may be moments where I make a mistake as the pastor and I will need to ask your forgiveness or there may be a time that you need to ask my forgiveness. If we are close, we can have the confidence to admit our faults and work beyond them.
Yet no matter what each day brings…happiness or challenge…we still do what healthy families do. We still gather together for our meal as one family. We will gather week after week for our Eucharistic meal. No matter what is going on in our family, we still gather together to eat.
My brothers and sisters, our family here of St. Isaac’s parish is no coincidence nor is it even just a bureaucratic decision that we are here together. Instead, we must believe that it is the Spirit of God, the same Spirit that led Ezekiel in today’s first reading. Since we have been led by the Spirit of God, we can be sure that great things await us.
So as the family of St. Isaac, you, welcome her newest member, me, as your pastor. Let’s thank God for this incredible gift to work together and in so doing that we grow closer to God. I’m so happy to be a part of your family!