Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Replacement

My replacement as Pastor of the Catholic Parish here Down Range arrived in country on Monday, so we got together yesterday to chat a bit. It turns out that SFC McG and he had met many years ago in Germany, and SFC McG had been looking forward to renewing the man's acquaintance.

They were both assigned to units in the 2nd Armor Division, and had both participated in the Gulf War, so they are among the few left in the Army, it seems, who can wear the "Hell on Wheels" (the motto of the now-defunct Division) deployment patch on their right shoulder. They both laughed about Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants wearing that patch.

While he'll be replacing me, there is no one who could replace SFC McG, and so the Army didn't even try, it appears.

My replacement was definitely dazed from the journey here. Not a surprise, to be sure; it took me almost three weeks to get my internal clock re-set upon arrival here, especially since SFC McG managed to get us into and out of Kuwait in 14 hours' time (rather than 5 - 21 days' time it takes most mere mortals).

The fact that he's actually older than me (hard to believe, but true) might have something to do with it, too. In fact, he's facing mandatory retirement while being deployed, and is supposed to be brought back onto Active Duty the next day.

We'll see how that goes....

He at least has made something of himself; he outranks my by several pay grades!

It seemed to me that no one had alerted my replacement to the fact that he'd be doing eight Sunday Masses over the course of each weekend here, in addition to weekday Masses, various catechetical programs, and perhaps one gig "outside the wire" each week, at least for the time being.

That did not seem to be good news to him (can't say as I blame him, either, but I guess I'm just used to it now....).

But maybe it was just the jet lag.

I tried to be as gentle as I could in laying it all out for him.

I'm hoping to drag him along with me to each of the Masses this weekend, so I can introduce him to the folks, and at least give him a chance to meet some of the ministry coordinators whose efforts on behalf of the community are legion, and without whom I'd have been a complete failure.

Nothing like a good ol' baptism by fire, I guess!

I'll keep you posted.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So we are supposed to be impressed because you worked so hard, much harder than your fellow priests? Man my fellow Catholics across the pond must be blessed to have such a fine upstanding hardworking chaplain like you there. Man, what will they do without you?

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