There are some places we pass through, and there are some places that have the power to hold us – always. Memories of people and events. Memories of challenges and resolutions. Memories of “baby steps” extending to strides.

With you, dear friends, I “hit my stride” in so many ways. Your patience with my very beginning English, your concern during my winter colds, your energy and support in my duties as Religious Education Director and your willingness to re-ignite your commitment to Jesus Christ and to your parish.

The leaders and members of the ministries have bolstered my belief that the sacred liturgy must be our weekly priority. The PAB has taught me the importance of listening and collaborating. The Ignite members have re-enforced my conviction that we can never stand still in our relationship with God. And we can never stand alone.

Father Stan has been a kind and tolerant first pastor. Even when we occasionally disagreed, we respected one another. We have been co-workers for the good of the parish. It is a great benefit for a new priest to be in a living situation free of tension. I am grateful to him for this and, most of all, for his generosity in sharing you with me. In the fullest way, you have permitted me into the realities of your family life. You have bound me to you with love.

I will miss the fresh air of Flanders, the sightings of deer and foxes, the quiet nights interrupted by morning birdsong. Passaic will be different, but it will also be the same.

What will be the same is the same God, who places you and me where He wants us to be. The same God who allows us to hold on to whom and to what we love. I will always hold on to you.

Peace and love,

Fr. Hernan Cely