Yesterday was my last Sunday at Holy Family Parish. It was a bit emotional to be presiding my last Masses at the parish. I got a very nice surprise when a group of friends of mine from the Wednesday night “Sing” and the Monday night Sea Chanty group showed up!
In the afternoon, the parishioners had a “going away” party for me in the parish hall. There was a lot of food, including this beautiful cake:
And another group of music friends showed up, and added live music to the mix!
and we had another going away dinner, with another delicious cake:
THANK YOU to everyone for all you’ve done for me during my time at Holy Family Parish! The outpouring of support yesterday – kind words, business cards, greeting cards, gifts, music, hugs, etc. – reminded me once again that I have WICKED AWESOME friends in this amazing Cape Ann community! I hope to get out thank-you notes to those people who gave gifts and for whom I have a name and address, but if I miss you, please accept my thanks here!
Of course, although I am leaving Holy Family Parish, I am not leaving Gloucester or GMG! Why leave, when I am in such a great place with so many wonderful, talented, generous people? I am starting to move my things into a new apartment today, and will hopefully finish moving my things and myself tomorrow. I hope to support myself in part by selling prints of photos, teaching origami and photography workshops (at The Hive for teens and adults and Art Haven for kids, and anywhere else I can), and possibly doing some translation work and/or language tutoring (Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and/or maybe Italian, although my Italian is a little rusty).
From tomorrow on, Fr. Linus Mendis will take my place here at Holy Family Parish. As of July 1, I will formally be on a year of leave of absence with permission from the Cardinal. That implies that, although I continue to be a priest in good standing, I will not be doing any priestly ministry. The archdiocesan policy with these things is that, since I am taking a year off, I am not allowed to wear my clerical clothing or celebrate the sacraments in public (although I will continue to celebrate Mass in private – I am looking for a small altar for my apartment… ). Some people have asked if I should still be called “Father Matthew”, or just “Matthew”, or “Matt”, or whatever. Since I don’t know what will be going on at the end of this year (continuing as a priest for the archdiocese? seeking another option within priestly ministry, or taking another path outside of ministry?), just call me whatever makes you comfortable. My preference is Matthew (with or without “Father”). For now, I will be signing my posts like this: