Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the extremely warm welcome you have all given me to St. Eugene’s and to Chepachet. This week, I had the privileges of meeting with several of our parishioners who are most dedicated to the various services our parish offers, of socializing with some of you personally, and of attending the “Ancients and Horribles Parade” for the first time in my life (like most Rhode Islanders I try to avoid having to travel more than fifteen minutes from home, so I never ventured from Cumberland to Glocester for the parade).
During a conversation with a parishioner and because of some other experiences I had this week, I was reminded that whenever a pastor leaves a parish with which he had a strong relationship, there is always a grieving process for that community and it takes a while for it to grow accustomed to the change. So I just want to say at the outset of my ministry here with you that I understand change can be difficult and I would like to help however I can. I cannot fill Fr. Varghese’s shoes, but, fortunately for me, I don’t have to because God expects me to be Fr. Dandeneau, not Fr. Varghese. We each have different gifts and charisms to offer the Church, so it is my genuine hope that what I offer to you helps to enrich the spirituality of this parish and leads this community to flourish even more as a place of worship, faith formation, and service to others. The way I see it, even though I have been given the ecclesiastical position and canonical title of “pastor”, the real shepherd of your souls and leader of this community is Christ and I am just His delegate, here to represent His wishes. So please pray for me and be assured of my prayers for you as we begin our journey towards spiritual union with God through Christ together.
In Christ, Fr. Dandeneau