Tag Archives: transition

Changes in Leadership

Today, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver announced its annual pastoral appointments.  Every July, some priests changes parishes: head pastors move churches, some assistant pastors become head pastors, and other priests move into specialized roles, move out of the archdiocese, or retire.

At my home parish of St. Paul’s, we are once again affected by the changes, as we will be getting our 3rd assistant pastor in 3 years.  It’s not a bad thing, as our church is looked at as one of the most dynamic in our archdiocese and a great place for priests to gain valuable experience in a large parish and thus hone their ministry craft.

In reflecting on this upcoming transition, I started to relate it to youth ministry (surprise, surprise).  In particular, it underscored for me the importance of having a good transition plan in place when a parish youth ministry coordinator or youth minister moves on…for whatever reason.

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Becoming Invisible

“He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease” – John 3:30

My favourite worship leader is Matt Maher.  Among the many reasons why (in no particular order):  he’s a brilliant musician, he’s an intelligent writer and storyteller, he has a profound understanding of church, he’s a lot of fun to be around, he’s Catholic, he’s Canadian, he’s been a long-time friend to both the Archdiocese of Vancouver and to me, and we’re the same age.

Among his many endearing and inspiring qualities is his humility.  He always ensures that the worship is about Him and not him.  I’ve seen him leading 18,000 youth in spirited praise only to quietly walk off the stage without fanfare so as to not interrupt the worship.  Matt doesn’t need the adulation…and when he does receive it he is quick to direct it all to God.

Matt literally and figuratively becomes invisible when he leads worship.  And it’s a beautiful thing.

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It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye: Transition in Leadership

This past Sunday, our assistant pastor said goodbye to our parish after three years of faithful service to our parish community.  As Father Swann Kim reflected on his time at St. Paul’s at the end of Mass (one year as a deacon and two years as a priest), he choked up in a touching and genuine display of emotion.  On cue, many in the congregation (including this writer) had to wipe away tears as we listened to Fr. Swann speak about how we had all become his family and that he was sad to move on.

Fr. Swann won’t be too far as he takes up residence at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Port Coquitlam.  As with many of the priests who have lived with and learned from Monsignor Luterbach, Fr. Swann will likely become a pastor somewhere in the not-so-distant future.  Life at St. Paul Parish will go on, in large part to the strong leadership of Msgr. Luterbach and countless others in the parish community.  As well, we are all excited as to what our new assistant pastor Father Rodney Nootebos will bring to our parish.

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