As announced at the weekend Masses, The Archdiocese has announced that the new pastor of St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy is Fr. Shafique Masih. Father has been serving at St. Jude church on the east side of Detroit for a number of years. He visited our parish last week and seemed impressed by the number of activities, both liturgical and community. He is a friendly, down to earth person and I am sure that he will be a great leader for the parish as we move forward.
Although he doesn’t arrive until July 1, I was thinking of a few things that are useful to remember when welcoming a new pastor. Some of these I experienced and others I found. You may want to keep them in mind.
- When a new pastor arrives, be patient with him. The grief of leaving a familiar parish and the newness of this parish might be a bit overwhelming. Be patient.
- Don’t overwhelm him or beat down a path to his door. Give him some breathing room, time to unpack, get settled, remember the names of the staff, understand the schedule, etc. This may take a couple of months.
- If he needs help in moving in, assist him. Make sure he wants the help. But don’t be pushy about it. Many priests like their privacy and may not want parishioners traipsing through their home.
- Perhaps a welcome basket with some fruit and simple food would be helpful. Include one simple cooked meal that may be welcome on his first day. But not too many. We all have our own tastes.
- Let him change his mind. Sometimes a decision made early is rushed or made without fully understanding things. Give him some wiggle room.
- Try not to compare him to the former pastor (me). First of all, it is not possible. He will also struggle comparing St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy to his former parish. Comparisons only impede relationships.
- Eventually tell him about yourself and about the parish. But please don’t use terms like, “Well this is the way we’ve always done it.” He may ask how things have been done. Most pastors want to keep things the way they are and not try to fix things that are not broken. So he may ask. Make sure that you know how to answer a question and not try to make your own pet peeve or feeling seem like the feeling of the parish.
- Let him get to know you and the various groups of the parish. Sure, he can read the bulletin but if you mention to him various activities, he can decide which ones to attend and not attend.
- Most importantly, pray for him. And let him know that you are praying for him.