Announcement from the Oratory
Given by Very Rev. Peter R. Cebulka, CO, Provost
June 2-3, 2018
To our parishioners, friends, benefactors and collaborators in New Brunswick:
Just months before his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, Oratorian Blessed John Henry Newman famously wrote, “In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” We find ourselves now in the midst of our own season of change.
Since his arrival in Metuchen two years ago, Bishop Checchio has shown great care for both our Oratorian community and St. Peter’s Parish, and we are confident that he has our best interests at heart. He has shown particular concern for the future growth and stability of the Oratory. Having identified a particular area of need in our diocese that also presents an opportunity for the Oratory to continue to develop, Bishop Checchio has requested the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Oratory to make a change. After much prayer and reflection, we have freely decided to accept the bishop’s request. This summer, we will be moving to the Borough of Raritan in Somerset County to assume the care of the following apostolates: St. Ann Parish and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Raritan, and Holy Trinity Parish in Bridgewater. Fr. Tom Odorizzi will be the new pastor at St. Ann’s. Fr. Jeff Calia will be the new pastor at Holy Trinity.
While Oratorians will no longer be ministering in the parish apostolate at St. Peter’s, our presence in New Brunswick will continue in a limited way for the upcoming year. In addition to his new pastoral responsibilities, Fr. Peter Cebulka will continue as part-time chaplain at the Catholic Center and Fr. Kevin Kelly will continue his ministry to the Hispanic community in the city.
We acknowledge that this announcement comes as a surprise to you, as the Bishop’s request was to us. As Oratorians, we belong to Christ and His Church; we have given ourselves to a life of ministry and service, assisting the bishop in his pastoral care of the Diocese. We believe that the Lord is calling us to this new chapter in the life of the Oratory, and we look forward to serving in a new apostolate that will offer us the opportunity to work more closely together as a community. Change is always challenging, but as Blessed John Henry said, it is an inevitable part of life, and of the path of holiness to which we are all called. We believe and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work, and so we go forth with confidence and hope.
I am pleased to share with you that Msgr, Joseph Celano, Vicar for Administration for the Diocese of Metuchen and former pastor of St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish in Bridgewater will be coming as your new Pastor. Msgr. Celano previously served as campus ministry chaplain at the Catholic Center and lived at the rectory here at St. Peter’s. Monsignor has an excellent reputation as a pastor and I know you will experience great blessings through his ministry here. Since Msgr. Celano will continue as Vicar for Administration, Bishop Checchio is assigning two additional priests, Fr. Jason Pavich and Fr. James DeFillipps, both known to the community through their work at the Catholic Center, as full time parochial vicars at St. Peter’s. They will be sharing pastoral responsibilities for both the parish and the Catholic Center. These changes will go into effect on Monday, July 2.
There is of course great sadness in parting, but even more gratitude: for the countless grace-filled moments we have been privileged to share with you, and for the many kindnesses that you have shared with us over these past 12 1/2 years. God has deeply blessed us here, and we are truly grateful.
As we all strive to accept and to embrace this change, and as we look forward to new opportunities and blessings which yet remain beyond our sight, let us continue to support each other and pray for each other. We will always carry the people of St. Peter’s in our hearts and will continue to be inspired by the spirit of this parish. We know that the same Spirit who leads us forth will continue to bestow His gifts in abundance upon you.
St. Peter the Apostle, pray for us! St. Philip Neri, pray for us!