Change can be difficult. As creatures of habit, change can threaten or even paralyze us. In the Gospel, Jesus is rejected by those with whom he grew up precisely because they thought they knew him. Their inability to change their perspective, to see Jesus for more than simply the son of a carpenter keeps them from believing. One of the saddest lines of all Scripture follows, He was not able to perform any mighty deed in his hometown. The comfort of familiarity kept them from faith.
As difficult as change can be, it is also the opportunity for growth. This Fourth of July weekend brings a period of transition to the priory here at St. Dominic’s. This week we feel a twinge of departure as Fr. Emmanuel leaves to take up his new assignment at the Catholic community at Stanford University. For the past three years, we have had the pleasure of Fr. Emmanuel’s ministry, which has enlivened the parish in many ways. Whether involved with the our Hispanic Community at the St. Jude Mass Pilgrim Mass or leading the 3040’s peer group, Fr. Emmanuel’s passion and vision for radiating the joy of the gospel has been evident. First assignments make a lasting impression. Just as my first priestly assignment here at St. Dominic’s holds a special place in my life, so too, Fr. Emmanuel continues his ministry with treasured moments of St. Dominic’s in his heart. Being less than an hour away (depending on Bay Area traffic), I suspect we haven’t seen the last of Fr. Emmanuel!
Last week, we were delighted to have Fr. Anthony preach and introduce our eight novices as they shared their vocation stories with us. This next week, they set out for their Northern tour of the province. Our Province stretches from Alaska to Mexicali, west of the Rocky Mountains—(Geographically, it includes Hawaii, but to Fr. Xavier’s chagrin, at present, the Dominican friars do not have an active ministry on any the islands). One of the goals of the novitiate is to familiarize the novices with the breath of our preaching and ministry that spans 19 parishes and Newman Centers throughout the Western United States. For this reason, there are two “tours” built into the structure of their discernment year. After Christmas, Fr. Anthony led them south to our parishes in Eagle Rock and Mexicali. They also spent time at our Newman Centers in Tucson and Salt Lake City. As they depart on their summer tour, some of the parishes they will visit include Blessed Sacrament, in Seattle, and Holy Rosary, in Portland. They will also share their stories at our Newman Centers at the University of Oregon and Washington University. Their tour concludes at our retreat house at McKenzie Bridge, in Oregon, where the students of St. Albert’s gather for recreation and planning for the fall semester. At McKenzie Bridge, the novices have a chance to integrate into the larger student community as they prepare to profess vows and begin their formal studies. Keep Fr. Anthony and our novices in your prayers as they travel, share their vocation stories, and prepare to profess vows this September.
Also, Fr. Allen Duston, who was been director of the St. Jude Shrine, will join Fr. Emmanuel in moving to St. Raymond’s, in Menlo Park. Fr. Allen will be the chaplain to our contemplative nuns at Corpus Christi Monastery, across the street from the Vallombrosa Retreat Center, which is directed by Fr. Patrick O’Neil, O.P. With Frs. Xavier, Emmanuel, and now Allen having lived here recently and now living at St. Raymond’s, I currently refer to the house as “St. Dominic’s South!” We ask for God’s blessing on Fr. Allen as he begins his new ministry.
Amidst so much departure, this week we are excited to welcome formally Fr. Steve Maekawa to the parish staff. With Fr. Emmanuel’s leaving there was a need for assistance and Fr. Steve has been generous enough to join Fr. Isaiah and myself in ministering at St. Dominic’s. Fr. Steve has been in residence here at St. Dominic’s for the past three years as both the Vocations Director for the province and as the Prior, i.e., the main superior of the Dominican community.
Recently, Fr. Steve was re-elected as Prior and named as an official Parochial Vicar. Having been on staff before, Fr. Steve’s return to the staff is a welcome homecoming. He will preach at all the weekend Masses, and we look forward to many fruitful years of his priestly service and preaching here at Dominic’s! May the Lord continue to bless St. Dominic’s during this time of change and transition so that the joy of the Gospel might continue to radiate from the heart of the City.
~ Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.