Dear beloved parishioners,
It has been a little over three years since the last time I wrote in our parish bulletin. In that last bulletin I wrote about St. Mary’s beautiful stain glass windows and about the tremendous impact they had on me as a young priest. At that time I did not know that the windows of St. Mary’s were going to be a prophecy, a window so to say, of how my priesthood would flourish and mature so long as I meditated on the life of Christ and the humility of the Virgin Mary.
I’m happy to say that these last four years, but especially since the arrival of Fr. Richard Berbary, have been truly phenomenal. This past June I also began my fifth year at St. Mary’s Church. I can honestly say that God has showered me with much tender love and joy with the presence of Fr. Tom and Fr. Richard, two remarkable men. They have taught me almost everything I know about life as a priest in a parish. I am truly indebted to them for their kindness, patience, support, brotherhood and love.
The staff at St. Mary’s is outstanding, I could not have asked for better people to work with on a day-to-day basis. It is because of them that my work at St. Mary’s has been successful. Above all, I have learned the most on how to be a priest, by interacting in the life of each and every one of you beloved parishioners. I will always thank God for giving me the grace to begin my priesthood with such extraordinary people.
I would like to take this time to speak to you about my experience at St. Mary’s as a young priest. You might not know this, but the year leading up to my diaconal ordination I had asked the Blessed Virgin Mary for a small but significant grace. I asked the Virgin Mary if it be possible, for my first assignment as a new priest, to be at a place where I would experience her constant protection and never feel alone. Lo and behold, this small petition became true. Not only did I receive a parish in honor of the Virgin Mary, (as a sign of Mary’s continual protection) she also gave me a new family so that I would never feel alone. The truth is, that I have never felt alone at St. Mary’s.
I want to tell you St. Mary’s that I will always love you for everything you have done, shown and inspired in me. You have been fundamental in my life as a young priest. I have heard sad stories of young priest living the priesthood or getting married as a result of a bad experience with their first assignments so critical in the first years. This unfortunate outcome has not been my experience. On the contrary, I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in each and every person that comes to St. Mary’s. It is because of you my dear parishioners that my vocation to the priesthood is confirmed everyday. I love being a priest because of you. God willing I hope to someday, in my ripe old age, die a holy priest. Thank you for your prayers and
friendship but especially for your tender love.
Now I would like to tell you something that requires immediate attention. As most of you may already know, this past summer I participated to an event called “World Youth Day” in Krakow Poland together with my family and some young people from my home parish in California. This was an amazing trip, one I will not forget anytime soon. After Poland, my family and I continued our vacation in Italy. We visited many beautiful places and churches.
One of those churches was the basilica of St. Anthony of Padua. As I prayed at the tomb of St. Anthony, I asked for a small but significant grace, but only if the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary were in favor of it. I asked for the grace to be completely open to the will of God no matter what it is. Lo and behold St. Anthony answered my prayer and granted me the grace to accept God’s will with joy. And what exactly is God’s will for me today?
My dear parishioners, I am writing to tell you that God has given me a new assignment for my priestly ministry at a church called St. Anthony of Padua in Union City. This new assignment is God’s will for me and I am happy to accept it. I received this news about two weeks ago. I did not ask or looked for this change, it was rather an urgent need, and like a faithful soldier for Christ, I will always answer the call to duty.
I ask my dear parishioners to please pray for me as I embark on this new journey. Humanly speaking it will be challenging to leave behind those whom I love. Please know that I will never forget you.
My new assignment will begin on October 1st 2016. My last weekend at St. Mary’s will be on September 24th and 25th. I hope this news does not make you sad and that you understand that this new assignment has not been forced upon me. I in all freedom have accepted it with joy and gratitude. I promise I will visit as often as I can, and you can definitely count on my prayers. Please know from the bottom of my heart that I will always love you St. Mary’s. I will remember you forever.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph guide and protect you always.
I will be forever yours,
Fr. Trinidad Jose Cuevas