Message from the Pastor
From The Pastor's Desk
by Fr. Kevin Gillespie, S.J.
(From the July 7 - July 10 issue of the Holy Trinity Bulletin)
Perhaps you have heard of how Jesus in Mark’s Gospel in speaking with his disciples, after a long series of labors, said to them, “Come away and rest for a while.” On July 1 “I began to come away and rest for a while.” Last fall when my provincial, Father Joseph O’Keefe, S.J, missioned me to serve several more years here at Holy Trinity, he suggested that I take a two-month sabbatical. It is interesting that the word “sabbatical” is derived from the biblical notion of Sabbath and denoted as “a day of rest dedicated to God.” And so you might say that my sabbatical is several Sabbaths put together.
One of my hopes for this period of sabbatical rest is to use the Ignatian Examen to review my years of ministry here at Holy Trinity. Many grace-filled consolations have come to mind and they have helped me gain perspective on my ministry. When I arrived in September 2015, I published my philosophy of leadership where I highlighted the importance of collaboration, stating, “As Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish I will seek to learn by listening to members of the parish community through encounters that promote participatory dialogues and collaborative actions.” I have shared this statement with members of the Pastoral Parish Council, members of the parish staff and several years ago published it in the Parish Bulletin. Allow me to share some of the many consolations of “collaborative actions” I have experienced over the past seven years:
2015 - Initial meetings with so many wonderful colleagues and parishioners; Formal installation Mass with Cardinal Wuerl; Beginning of rectory garden and collaboration with the Garden Committee.
2016 - Parish Assessment Review process begins; Church windows removed for restoration; Parish convent sold.
2017 - Parish Mission Statement approved; Parish sponsors the Cheikho family from Syria (the first of many refugees supported by the parish); Pilgrimage with parishioners to the Holy Land.
2018 - Bicentennial celebration of Holy Trinity School; Dozens of parishioners participate in reflection groups in response to the Cardinal McCarrick Report.
2019 - Anniversary celebration marking the 225th Anniversary of the parish Chapel; Church restoration; Timeline of Holy Trinity Church history is displayed in McKenna Hall; Dedication of Holy Trinity Columbarium at Holy Rood Cemetery.
2020 - Parish begins researching issues of racism in its history; COVID shutdown of live Masses and parish programs; Beginning of livestream Masses and daily audio homilies.
2021 - Start of the Ignatian Year; HTS and HTP time capsules are buried, to be opened in 2043 and 2044 respectively; Installation of the Timothy Schmalz statue, “When I was hungry” in the Chapel garden.
2022 - Synodal meetings; Parish pilgrimage to the Ignatian sites in Spain and Rome; Parish pilgrimage marking our African American history.
Obviously there are many more events I could mention, but those listed above represent some of the collaborative parish experiences that provide perspective of my ministry here at Holy Trinity. In closing I should note that I will be here for the culmination of The Ignatian Year on the Feast of St. Ignatius, July 31. Throughout the sabbatical I will spend time in gratitude for my seven years thus far collaborating with so many of you at Holy Trinity and in hope for the years of ministry to come. God bless.