Je m'appelle trans?

08-02-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Mes chers Amis,

It seems that the latest cultural haute couture is everything or everyone "trans". Somehow, with breathtaking speed that which was rive gauche has become the pinnacle of human advancement. As I listen to how the media report on stories of the trans-lifestyle I get the feeling we are all being warned to treat such persons not just with the utmost awe but actually better than anyone else including married ss couples.

Well in light of that status, I'll throw my lot in with the "trans" people. It's true I am a "trans" person. Not in the La cage aux folles sense. Still I am what I am or maybe better I will be what I am. Or something. So here goes:

As you are aware I was ordained as a diocesan priest (not a religious like Jesuit or Franciscan) for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 2000 I came to the Diocese of Phoenix on a three-year loan. Since then I have served at Mt. Carmel as the Administrator of the Parish, which is the equivalent of Pastor. Why is that? When you are not serving in your home Diocese, by virtue of Canon Law you cannot have the official title of Pastor. So more or less I've been "acting" Pastor. Well to make a long story short I officially "transitioned" to the Diocese of Phoenix, the process is known as "incardination". Therefore since I am now incardinated into the Diocese of Phoenix and excardinated from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I am thus officially "Pastor". Je m'appelle pasteur. See I am authentically "trans"! You can think of me as the guest who came to dinner and never left. Basically that means you will notice no difference whatsoever. Except…

Our Bishop likes to have a ceremony to officially "install" a pastor and despite my protestations that doing such in my case would be a bit superfluous after fifteen years of serving in the role, much to my discomfort he will be here to do such on Sunday, August 16 at the 11am Mass. At which time the who's who of Mt. Carmel will be in attendance, which means you. So please accept my heartfelt invitation to join in the Installation ceremony on August 16 followed by a joie de vivre reception.

In an unrelated side detail, the Bishop also appointed me the Dean of the South Deanery also known as Vicar Forane. (For better management, the Diocese is divided into five geographical regions called Deaneries and over each is a Dean who reports to the Bishop on matters relating to that area.) Without boring you with all the details of the job description of Dean, you can think of it as upper management. No pay increase though.

While we are on the "trans" theme, some other transitions: Deacon Rob Bonura was transferred to All Saints Parish in Mesa. The Parish there has no deacons and the Pastor has some health issues so the extra hands are very much needed there. Deacon Rob and his wife Vicki, served us with overabundant generosity for many years and I will deeply miss them. We will have a time to thank them at a future date.

Also the leadership of our Parish School has been in transition as well. We welcome our new Principal, Mr. Bruce Hermie and our new assistant principal Mrs. Kelly Shewbridge as they open the book on a new chapter in our school's long history. Additionally we have some new faculty and staff that we will be welcoming as well when school opens on August 18.

Transitions are moments of challenge and opportunity individually and collectively. Obviously when these moments come it is important for us to figure out what God is trying to do with and for us.

So keep all of us "trannies" in your prayers.

Je t'embrasse,
Fr. John B.

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