Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bound for the USA

This morning I attended an interview at the US Embassy in London to complete the process of applying for a R1 (religious worker's) visa. After the initial checking of papers and taking of fingerprints, a consular official confirmed in a 30 second interview that my visa had been approved. So I hope to be departing in the first few days of July to work pastorally in a diocese with which I have some familiarity (it's COLD in the winter!) I intend to keep my blog going with, hopefully, good news from the Church in the US.

I have spent 9+ years here in South Ashford. While it has had its challenges, I have grown to love the people greatly. I have been thinking for a while about whether or not the time is right for a change, and everything fell into place over the last year to indicate that this opportunity for a sabbatical year was right.

I am leaving my parish with mixed emotions but have placed this venture in God's hands. I have no plans to study in this sabbatical year although I shall take whatever opportunities arise to attend formative and informative courses/conferences etc, but mainly I shall be working pastorally as an assistant priest (parochial vicar). I am looking forward to working with another priest without bearing all the responsibility of a parish priest myself.

The sabbatical was agreed under our previous Archbishop Kevin McDonald. I am grateful to him for the permission he granted and to his successor Archbishop Peter Smith for the presumed continuance of that permission.

I am obviously grateful to the Bishop who is receiving me into his diocese and pray that I shall be of some service to him (or, at the very least, not be a cause of embarrassment!)

Please pray for my parish at this important time of change.


  1. Hello Fr. Boyle,

    Greetings from chilly Michigan, USA! Fr. Mike Steber directed me to your blog. I work with religious education at St. Peter Cathedral. (I think we may have met very briefly after Mass when you visited last year.) Glad to know that your visa has been approved. We are very much looking forward to your arrival! God grant you a safe journey!

    Katie Flaherty

  2. Hi Katie

    Great to hear from you. I look forward to meeting you again soon.

    Have just checked Marquette weather. It certainly seems to be chilly. 10 celsius is winter weather here! Maybe I should pack some winter clothing rather than send it all on ahead!

    God bless.

  3. God speed, Father! Looking forward to your impressions of Catholicism this side of the pond. Yes, it will be cold (I'm in neighboring Wisconsin) but not for a few months yet...

  4. Every good wish in your venture, Father John. I know many in your parish will miss you.

  5. Fr., good luck and prayers for you and your parisihoners in this time of transition. Hope it all goes well all around.

  6. You will be missed Fr but I am sure everything will be great here and in the USA because as you said you have left it in the hands of GOD.
    Best Wishes
    Tim Shamoon

  7. We could offer you a cold winter in VT, too.

  8. Hoping that it will be a great year for you Father. Looking forward to reading your impressions of what you find over in USA too!
    God bless you.

  9. Dear Fr John. Many thanks for all your kindnesses, prayers and Masses. I look forward to keeping in touch with your new challenges via your Blog. There is always an optimum time to move on and that time is now. Enjoy the forthcoming year. God Bless. In Domino.

  10. Good luck and prayers. Make sure you come back to Southwark! Hope you continue the blog too. All the best.

  11. God bless in the new venture, Father.
    Thank you for the blog. Mind out for those dodgy courses, if you happen to be of a mind to go on any!

  12. Last summer, we had the good fortune to spend a few days at St Ignace in the south-east corner of the diocese of Marquette and visited the beautiful Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island. The island is MIs version of our Sark - no traffic, other than horse drawn and a beautiful Church of St Anne. It lies between Lake Huron to the East and Lake Michigan to the West. St Ignace is a lovely town and also has a beautiful Church. The local Michigans are very friendly and hospitable people - we loved our few days there. You will enjoy your sabbatical wherever you are in MI.

  13. Monica

    I was there last summer too. In August (can't remember which day). It was glorious day. And Marquette is precisely where I shall be.

  14. Have a wonderful Sabbatical, Father. By coincidence, I, too, will be on a year's Sabbatical from September!

  15. Good luck and prayers for a great sabbatical, I'll be looking forward to your posts from the States!

  16. Come to New York and Connecticut too!
    We get lots of snow!

  17. A "warm" welcome to you from Marquette. We are looking forward to your presence and what you can bring to us from the UK Church.

    Don't worry - the friendliness of the people of Marquette will override any inclement weather we might have, and you will find that even snowdrifts have their own kind of beauty in mid-winter.

    Steve Lynott

  18. Wishing you well in your next chapter Father John. Although I no longer attend St Simon's I have many good memories of your homilies.

    God Bless

  19. @Anonymous: Thanks for the good wishes. You'd be very welcome to hear my final homily(ies) and I'm sure I'd be delighted to see you. Tomorrow and the following Sunday are my last Sundays (although Father Peter, our summer supply priest, might well do the preaching on 4th July). I fly on 6th. God bless you too.

  20. Have a wonderful adventure.
    God bless

  21. Very best wishes for a wonderful year.

  22. O no!*

    Don't get blown up or shot or catch any diseases from tomatoes or ... You must come back!

    *for the UK, of course

  23. Just great you are keeping your blog Father - it is so good.My sister in California sends me the link regularly.
    Am teaching in Belfast Ireland and you give me so many ideas and information for my RE classes.
    We will pray to Fr Solanus Casey for you in your new USA venture.
    Am sure you will have a great time.
    Enjoy!! Jo Kelly


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