Let me take this opportunity to thank Fr. Abran Tadeo for his 12 years of dedicated and exceptional ministry at St. Christopher in Marana. He’s well loved by the community and I understand that many were deeply saddened by his transfer, perhaps, hurt with the changing of the guards and wished his successor would be someone over and greater than him in all things. Too bad, it’s just me. This must have been a huge disappointment for many, if not all. I sympathize with anyone who felt this way and hopefully, time will heal. I have an enormous respect for him. He was my mentor during my pastoral internship here in the summer of 2005. I remember when I first arrived in St. Christopher June 2005 around 7 pm, Fr. Abran was on vacation and as soon as I got into the rectory, four chihuahuas greeted me with their well- orchestrated squeaky sound non-stop, cute but not to my liking. I tried joining them in the chorus but got annoyed and gave up. I’m afraid of dogs literally all animals and it scared me to death.
I’m grateful to Fr. Mom, who has been very gracious in welcoming me to the parish, for his kind and inspiring words during masses on the first weekend assuring me of the full support of the community. I will keep that in mind and will quote him again if things prove otherwise.
When I was at St. James in Coolidge, AZ, I would drop by, once in a while, at the gas station right next to the interstate and grab a bite of burrito and tacos nearby and that’s far as I went. I never got the chance to go any farther to check the place and take a look at the church. I have been invited many times to say Mass maybe because of my connection but my schedule just didn’t work. After news of my assignment came out, I drove by the parish incognito, of course and was amazed to see the immense growth of the city. I was even lost. Not once but twice. I tried to jog my memory to no avail. Thank God for modern technology. GPS came to the rescue. When I finally found it, I was just a few meters away, at the intersection of Tangerine and Moore. Such is Life.
This was a surprise assignment. I was on cruise control, happily enjoying life at St. James and thought was going to spend 7 years at least, even more all the way to retirement. But no, God had a different plan. Who would ever thought that one day I would be back as a Pastor. Who knows…maybe, I’m coming back to apologize. I’m still reflecting on what God has in store, which takes a while and hard to tell. Unless we bring and drown things of this nature in prayer, it seems nearly impossible to know the purpose of it all.
With all the packing and unpacking in almost a month now (deciding which ones to throw and to keep, what is necessary and what is not), I’m slowly settling down, little by little, one step at a time, takes months, even years. It’s still overwhelming just looking at the pile of boxes. Putting the scattered pieces together, fixing myself, office and rectory present a challenge. It appears that one of my biggest adjustments is the 9:30am weekday Mass. I have to remind myself every now and then, that I am not in St. James Coolidge anymore. Relax said my guardian angel, it’s summer, go back to sleep even if the sun is up, Mass isn’t until 9:30am. I hope it’s the real thing and not some third party trying to deceive me. Amen.