To the St. John the Baptist Parish and School Family:
I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Bernard Hebda for assigning me to remain at St. John’s as pastor, effective June 10. In my short time here, which began so unexpectedly and has proceeded in a way none of us could have foreseen, I have grown in affection for the wonderful people of this parish and school. My only real sorrow so far is that the pandemic has interrupted my first chance to get to know everyone; yet God will allow that to resume in good time. Knowing that I will remain here gives me great peace in that respect: that I
have the opportunity now to get to know, love, and serve you as we continue to be “All In” in knowing, loving, and serving our good God. I have been blessed beyond measure by the talent and kindness of our staff, trustees, councils, and volunteers. I am also profoundly grateful to the man I am now honored to call my predecessor, Bishop Donald DeGrood. His support and encouragement mean so much to me as I continue to serve this wonderful community which he served so generously and faithfully. He remains a spiritual father and friend to me. All the priests who have served here have created a very special culture at St. John’s which makes it a wonderful place to live out a priestly vocation. Lastly, I cannot fail to mention the consolation I receive from recalling the example of love for St. John’s embodied by my Aunt Andi. The link below provides you with a bit more background on me.
I will celebrate eight years as a priest on May 26th. These years have been very blessed and happy, even through some difficult times for our local church. My last five years have been at St. Michael’s in Farmington, where I was a first-time pastor. The joys and challenges I’ve experienced there have shaped me profoundly, and I hope will bear fruit both here and there. I ask for your prayers both for me and the parishioners of St. Michael’s in this transition. I know, for my part, that there will be much grief that will accompany my leaving the many treasured relationships formed with individuals and families of the parish.
I know that I am still a young pastor—with much to learn—so I will rely upon the support of your prayers and patience. At the same time, I assure you that I will always strive to be morally upright, hardworking, welcoming of the wisdom of collaborators, and above all, prayerful and serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ. As your pastor, everything I do must flow from an interior union with Jesus the High Priest. Please pray that I never wander from this most cherished friendship with my Master. If we all remain in that friendship, we will fulfill the mission given us in our baptism and will continue to bring others to Him.
I look forward to walking with you and being united (a spirit captured so beautifully in words by Pope Francis and lived out so beautifully in action in our recent commUNITY event). We will soon emerge from this time of trial, and we will do so together under the standard of Christ our Savior. And so, I promise you, and invite you to say the same: “I’m ALL IN.”
Yours in Christ,
Father Ben Little