Greetings to you, Our Lady of Providence!
On Sunday when we celebrated Pentecost -- the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles fifty days after the Resurrection of our Lord -- we learned of the new formation and structure for all parishes across the Archdiocese, and we learned of the new assignments for all the parish priests. In the Archbishop‘s letter to you, the parish community of Our Lady of Providence, you learned that your current structure as a parish would remain unchanged, and that Father Schilli was being appointed to serve as the senior-associate of Saint Mark Parish, with me being assigned as your new pastor and Father Paul Niemann as your new senior-associate. Fr. Niemann and I have also been assigned to serve the parish community of Annunciation in the same capacity, with me as pastor and Father Niemann as the senior-associate.
I wanted to let you know how pleased and excited I am to be appointed as your pastor! Through the eight years I have been serving as pastor of Annunciation, I have been blessed in coming to know some of you through our mutual work and support of our shared parish school, Holy Cross Academy, in addition to ACTS Retreats, and other various ministries, events, and activities. I know from this limited experience of mine, you are a wonderful community of faith, comprised of many dedicated, hard-working, faith-filled people. I look forward to getting to know all of you in the coming days, weeks, months, and years ahead as we pray together, celebrate the Sacraments, and do the good work of our Lord together as His missionary disciples.
With our new priest assignments becoming effective on August 1st, I wanted to let you know some of the things that I will be doing during June and July:
First, I will be praying for all of you during this time of summer vacations and transitions.
Secondly, I will be working on things that need some adaptations in order for the parish facilities to be accessible for me to use, i.e. installing a lift behind the altar so that I can celebrate the Eucharist with you! Other changes may include a few additional power assist doors, changes to a few doorknobs to paddle door handles, and other minor adaptations.
Thirdly, as I continue to learn more about the parish from Father Schilli, I will also be scheduling meetings with the parish staff, OLP’s All Things New Key Parish Leaders, and the parish council to help me learn more about your parish and to make the initial transition. There following, whether that be prior to August 1st or after the effective start-date for all new assignments, I will be making plans to meet with your many organizations, as well as all of you to learn more about your parish and what makes it special and treasured by you!
Finally, during the summer with the help of Fr. Schilli and Margie, I plan to send you updates through your parish email/Flocknotes to keep you informed on what’s happening!
I will be going on vacation for a week or two in June and July but, otherwise, I will be in town. If you want to reach me before August 1st, you can reach me by my parish email and phone number found at the bottom of this letter. But, again as a friendly reminder, Father Schilli remains your pastor until the official transition date of August 1, so please reach out to him for all parish related needs or concerns until then.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus sent forth His disciples to build the Church by bringing and sharing the Good News of Salvation to the ends of the Earth. He empowered them with the Holy Spirit to live out this, His Great Commission. Today, now that the Archbishop’s, much anticipated All Things New announcement has been shared and made known to our local Church of Saint Louis, let us join together in prayer with the Archbishop and all of the faithful for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our local Church of Saint Louis, especially right here in Crestwood and Webster Groves! Father Niemann and I would also appreciate your prayers for both of us as we look forward to joining your parish community as your parish priests. May the Holy Spirit empower all of us to live out the Great Commission to evangelize, to share the Good News within our Church and with the world, making All Things New in Christ Jesus, our Lord!
May God’s peace and a happy start to summer be yours!
Our Lady of Providence, pray for us!
Father Mike Esswein