The Rectors Message (retired)
The Rev. Mariano Gargiulo, retired
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Dear Saint James' Parish Family and Friends:
As I write this my final article, the song from the Sound of Music, keeps playing in my mind. You know the one I mean:
…So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye -- Goodbye!
…The sun has gone to bed and so must I.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!
As you can tell, I wish to say goodbye to you all, my beloved Parish Family and Friends. I am just a few weeks shy of 19 years of service to Saint James’ Episcopal Church, our common home. I know I speak for Billy when I say that these past 19 years have been quite a journey. There were times of joy and happiness and times sorrow and sadness. I have been privileged to minister to your needs, my faithful people, from the Holy Altar of God, from the cradle to the grave. What a privilege it has been for me to be able to share my priestly Ministry with all of you, and for you to share your love and acceptance for Billy and me.
All relationships in life have ups and downs and ins and outs. Ours at Saint James’ are no different. We have not always agreed with each other, but at the end we have always loved each other. As the Scriptures tell us, God is love, and they who abide in love, abide in God, and God in them!
When I was ordained a priest 41 years ago, all I asked of God was to be able to minister to God’s people. God has been so good to me, in allowing me to have served for 20 years as a priest in the Roman Catholic tradition in various ministries, then leading me to serve for 21 years in the Episcopal tradition. This was more than I could have hoped for, to be a priest, to be married to Billy, and to live my life in the service of others with honesty and integrity. This is what you’ve helped me to accomplish and why I am so grateful to all of you. While I now say goodbye to Saint James’, I hope and pray to be able to open new chapters in my life, to be able to minister in new and creative ways. I believe I still have a few more years left to give Glory to God in ministry! I pray that you will always remember me as fondly as I remember each and everyone of you.
Some of you may be sad that I am retiring, and some of you may be happy that I am retiring, and that’s OK! What’s important to me is that all of you know, that I am grateful to you all, and I will always cherish all of you in my heart till the day that the Lord calls me home. In my opinion, the life of a priest is a life of service. That is what my time at Saint James’ and all the previous assignments of my ministry have allowed me to accomplish.
All of you know that two years ago this month I lost my dear mother and father within 13 days of each other from COVID-19. Your love and support over that loss will never be forgotten, but that is what Saint James’ is all about. We may have our differences, but at the end of the day we support and love each other. That’s what being a parish family is all about, and that’s who you all are to Billy and me. I commend you all for this, and I pray that you continue down this road for many years to come.
As you know from my sermons, I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’ve said what I needed to say, and I chose to do it in writing because I don’t think that emotionally I could get through this face-to-face with you all. Even now as I write this I cry, but you know what I always say at all my funerals, crying is an important thing. After all, Jesus cried when he lost His best friend Lazarus. As important as crying is at this time, it’s more important to realize and be grateful for the gifts we have shared with each other, and the knowledge that there are more chapters to be written in each of our lives.
So, my dear Parish Family and Friends, continue forward and be the community of Saint James’. Welcome your future, welcome your new clergy, welcome your new parishioners, and welcome the chapters that will unfold before you.
I leave you with this blessing from the book of Genesis: “May the Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent from one another.”
May the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ Our Lord; and may the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you all, and upon all those that you love and remain with you all forever and ever. Amen.
In Christ’s Love,