Dear Sisters and Brothers,
On Saturday, the Bishop of Colorado, Robert O'Neill, invited me to become the interim dean of the Cathedral of St. John in Denver, and I accepted. I will be installed on 31 May, return to New York to pack my things and put my affairs in order, and move to Denver sometime in June. Since this is an interim position, I will not be eligible to become the Dean. In a year-or-so, will be moving to some other ministry. I want it to be in the New York City area, and I intend to work hard during the next year to make that happen.
Bishop O'Neill is a wonderful person, and the staff of the Cathedral is very impressive. It will be an honor and a privilege to work with them, and I know I will learn much and grow significantly. I am excited for this opportunity. At the same time, I am sad, even grieving, to be leaving behind (if only for a year) so many people I love and places that are home to me. You are among those people and "the mountain" is one of those places. For three years, you have been my primary community of faith. At the Easter Vigil this year, I felt for the first time in a very long time a deep sense of peace and a profound conviction that what we proclaim about Jesus is absolutely true. That was because I have come to know him present among us when we gather. You have welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm, good humor and sometimes startling honesty. In short, you have allowed me to know you and, as you have come to know me, you have said in so many ways that you accept me, respect me, and care for me. You have been a true gift to me, because you have allowed me to feel like a priest among you: something I have felt seldom in my life as a seminary professor. I will miss being part of your community and of greeting you one-by-one as you head back into the world after we have celebrated together. So often I have delighted in the warmth of your words and the tenderness of your embrace as we took leave of one another. I will miss you.
When Susan first asked me to help at St. John's on big occasions and to preside at your Eucharist on days when she was away, it did not occur to me that it was the beginning of a pastoral relationship and a web of warm acquaintances and heartening friendships, but so it was. I grieve the loss that I am facing, knowing that the nature of those relationships will now change. Still, this is the right thing for me to do. As you know, the past year at the seminary has been very difficult. Apart from that, though, I long to return to parish work, and this interim year in Denver will move me back into the kind of ministry I envisioned when I was ordained. It saddens me that to gain that, I will have to lose so much, including my place among you.
I will be at your Eucharist on the 17th and 24th. Those will be chances for saying goodbye, not to you, but to the relationship we have built these past few years. I hope I will be back among you soon, even if my role will be a different one.
For every kind word you have said to me, every trust you have placed in me, every laugh you have shared with me, and every beautifully sacred moment you have spent with me, I am and will forever be profoundly grateful.
The Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy