Pastor’s letter, July 3, 2016: Let Me Introduce Myself
My life has not been planned; it has been a surprise. My parents had six children. My dad thought that was enough and had not planned any more kids. My dad was not happy when my mom got pregnant again. But, surprise, twins! I came first, followed by my brother.
My brother and I were born in Southern California. We eventually moved to the TriCities where my dad worked for Westinghouse at Hanford. We stayed there and that is where I grew up. My mom passed away 6 years ago and is buried near our home of almost 50 years. My dad is 93 and of frail health.
As you know, the Northwest is a great place to grow up. We spent a lot of time on the Columbia River. And as a family we did a lot of camping. As teenagers my twin brother and I did a lot of backpacking in the Cascades. In my senior year in high school I felt the call to become a priest. I was attracted to a seminary in Southern California called St. Michael’s Abbey. In 1980, I entered and spent 10 years in the seminary — half of that time spent in Rome where I completed my theological studies.
In 1990, I was ordained a priest for the Norbertine Fathers and began my ministry in the classroom with teenagers. I spent 15 years in education as a teacher and administrator. Just when I thought I was going to be a teacher all my life, my superior asked me to go to a parish as parochial vicar. I soon learned to love parish ministry as much as teaching. I spent 10 years in parish ministry. Overall I have served in four different schools and four different parishes, all in Southern California.
An opportunity arose to return home to Washington State. The nuns on Shaw Island needed a chaplain. I happened to be making a weeklong retreat there and was immediately attracted to the place. I loved the land, the beauty of the Islands, the work and the life at the monastery. I asked Archbishop Sartain’s permission to join the Archdiocese and he warmly welcomed me to live and work on Shaw at the Monastery.
The Archbishop did not forget about me, even though Shaw Island is a rather secluded place. In late February, the Archbishop called me to his office and told me that Holy Rosary Edmonds is the place where I shall next serve. I was delighted. I have heard so many good things about the people and the parish. And Edmonds is just a beautiful place to live. I am so happy to be serving the people at Holy Rosary Parish.
The priesthood of Jesus Christ is a gift from God. Every priest needs a flock, a people, a context in which to serve and minister. Edmonds will now be that place where the gift of my priesthood will find a home. My only hope and prayer is to bring and be an instrument of Jesus Christ, the High Priest, to the good people of this parish.
I never thought I would return home. I never thought I would be on Shaw and never thought I would now be in Edmonds. God is full of surprises and it is all good. As St. John Vianney used to say often: “Bon Dieu”. We have a “Good God” and I look forward to all the good and surprises I will find at Holy Rosary in Edmonds.
Father Vincent Gilmore