Dear Parishioners and Friends,
On July 2, 2012, Msgr. Michael Billian will become the new pastor of Corpus Christi University Parish (CCUP), assisted by Fr. Phil Smith. I am convinced that they are the best possible choices for our parish. They will serve half time both at CCUP and at Blessed Sacrament Parish. My conversations with Msgr. Billian have assured me that he appreciates the strengths of our parish: a supportive permanent community; an outstanding group of student leaders; a loyal group of faculty and staff; a dedicated pastoral staff; a committed pastoral council; and a competent finance council, as well as the many other individuals and groups who contribute their time and talent to further the ministry of CCUP to the University of Toledo community. With these potent ingredients, I believe that CCUP is in a great position to continue to grow and flourish in new ways.
As for my personal plans, I have accepted a kind invitation to teach at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (the largest Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the U.S.) during this coming Fall semester from early September to early December. I agreed to do just one course on the Theology of the Priesthood plus a public lecture, while staying open to future developments there. By the end of June, I intend to move out of my apartment at CCUP into a condo in the area, that has been made available to me as a permanent residence by creative and generous individuals. My good intention is to find quiet time during July and August for prayer, reflection and writing. I am hoping my friends will understand and respect my search for solitude.
By way of exception,, I will give a series of eight lectures on “Karl Rahner Made Practical,” sponsored by the Sylvania Franciscan Village. They will be held on eight consecutive Saturdays, starting on July 7th through August 25th in the Queen of Peace Chapel on the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis and Lourdes University. They will begin at 3 p.m. and be followed by Mass for the participants. You can register for the series on the Franciscan Village website: www.sylvaniafranciscanvillage.org.
While being physically away from CUPP, I want to remain virtually present to parishioners and friends. To that end, I now have up and running my own website: FrJimBacik.org. I intend to post my Sunday homilies and my monthly Reflections articles, as well as past and current lectures. On Sunday, June 24th, CCUP will host two Masses of Thanksgiving (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) celebrating my 50 years of priesthood and 30 years as pastor of CCUP. I am hoping that many CCUP parishioners will come to the regular 10 a.m. Mass so that I can greet you personally after the Mass. We expect many visitors (all are welcome) for the 1 p.m. Mass, which will be followed by a reception. I will be giving the same homily and comments at both Masses.
As I move toward the celebration of a half century of priestly ministry, my heart is filled with deep sentiments of gratitude for those who have made the journey with me: the parishioners of Sandusky, St. Mary’s, who gave me a five-year course on how to be a priest; my friends from St. Thomas More, Bowling Green, who shared 12 happy years with me; and the many good people encountered during 30 years at CCUP. In moving on, there is so much I will miss dearly: teaching classes and giving lectures; participating in interfaith and ecumenical activities; interacting with faculty, staff and students; observing the creativity and energy of so many involved people; and especially presiding at Sunday liturgies. The sadness that accompanies leaving reinforces my gratitude for what has been and my hopes for what will come for all of us. Let us pray together that the Spirit will guide us into the unknown future, attentive to new opportunities.
Fr. Jim Bacik