Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Patrick Parish,
Transitions are very often difficult parts of our lives. That certainly has been true in my 48 years in the priesthood. As a diocesan priest, the community you are called to serve becomes—in a very real way—your family. Transitioning out of those families can be very challenging.
I have been fortunate to have had several different types of ministerial experiences over the years. Parish life was where most of my ministry has been exercised. However, high school chaplaincy and spiritual direction in our diocesan major seminary of Cleveland have also been important parts of my life.
I now find myself “retired and in residence” here at St. Patrick’s, having completed eleven years as the spiritual director at St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe. That property in Lake County is the very same place where I began my studies for the priesthood in 1963: Borromeo College Seminary. At times, life does certainly “come full circle.”
As retirement approached, I knew I wanted to live in a parish. One of the benefits that comes with retirement in the Cleveland diocese is that a priest can request the parish in which he wants to reside. Since I had been coming to St. Patrick’s parish to help with weekend Masses and thoroughly enjoying my experience, I prayed about my choice and spoke with Fr. Gurnick. In October of 2019, I asked Bishop Perez for permission to reside here at the parish. You might say, “The rest is history.”
Since my arrival on June 1, Fr. Gurnick and so many of you have graciously welcomed me. I was particularly surprised and touched at the recent celebration of my 75th birthday. I wondered how so many people were aware of my natal anniversary, until I saw my picture on the front page of the bulletin wishing me “Happy Birthday.”
Having been at the parish for two months, I do feel very much at home. Again, in large part, that is due to Fr. Gurnick and so many of you who have made me feel so welcome. For that I am most grateful. As time goes on, I look forward to getting to know more of the parishioners at this fine parish. Please be assured of my prayers for all of you. I ask that you would also remember me in your prayers. Thanks for welcoming me to your family.
Gratefully in the Lord,
Fr. Mark Hollis