17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Since the archdiocesan pastoral planning process has begun it has been anticipated that Saint Gertrude Parish would close its doors and be welcomed into Saint Damien of Molokai Parish. I have received word from Archbishop Blair that as of September 1, 2020, Saint Damien of Molokai Parish will welcome the former Saint Gertrude parishioners as part of our parish.

This is obviously a very painful process for the parishioners of Saint Gertrude. In many ways it is like a death for them with a genuine necessity for them to grieve. Their pastor of thirty-two years, Father Barry, will enter in Senior Priest Status as of that date. While we experienced our own merging pains with the formation of Saint Damien’s, neither of our former parishes lost their church building. We are one parish with two worship sites. Unfortunately, this will not be the case for Saint Gertrude parishioners. The church will only be open for funerals and weddings. The Pastoral Planning Team of the Archdiocese met with a group of Saint Gertrude parishioners a few weeks back. I was forwarded a copy of the meeting minutes. One of the major concerns of the Saint Gertrude parishioners is that they will not be welcome in our parish. This perception causes me great pain. I know what Saint Damien parishioners are all about and one of the hallmark attributes we possess is a wonderful sense of welcome. Our own Transition Team is planning to meet with that same group of Saint Gertrude parishioners in the coming weeks in order to begin the process of welcome and integration. The good parishioners of Saint Gertrude will bring their own talents and ministries which will make our parish all the stronger. I will keep you updated on this process. The COVID-19 Pandemic makes a clearly difficult reality all the more difficult. I know that we will welcome our new parishioners with great hospitality.

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