In recent weeks lots of people have been asking me what’s next, after I depart the University Catholic Center on June 30th. This is a complicated and unstable time for all of us, and plans can change on very short notice, but here’s what I know right now.
On July 1, we will turn over pastoral care of the University Catholic Center to Fr. Jonathan Raia and Fr. Hai Nguyen. Fr. Jimmy and I will remain in Austin for now, in residence at St. Austin Church.
I will begin a six-month sabbatical. Since this isn’t a good time to start any sort of academic program (which I have little interest in anyway), and because travel is still perilous and inconvenient, for most of this sabbatical I’ll stay in Austin, working on some of my own projects, and seeing how I might be useful to the Paulist Fathers and our mission. Mostly, though, I’ll be resting, recuperating from a hellish six months, and preparing for whatever comes next. I’m hoping that in August to mid-September I’ll be able to take an epic road trip and spend some time at my family’s summer cottage in Vermont.
So, what might I do doing after the first of the year? I’m still in dialogue with the Paulists’ Presidential Board, looking at some possibilities for a new assignment. Because we’re still in negotiations with one or more diocese about those possibilities, I can’t say too much more about them. I’m pretty excited about some of these opportunities.
But it must be said that things can change very quickly. The Paulists might suddenly ask me (even on a temporary basis) to step in if one of our foundations needs me. If that should happen, I’ll respond to the best of my ability.
In the short-term, since I’ll be staying in Austin, I’m hoping that I might be able to get together with people as our public health crisis may permit. But just to be clear: I will not be having conversations with people about the leadership or any changes at the University Catholic Center. That would be unfair to Frs. Raia and Nguyen, and would be extremely painful for me. Let’s keep appropriate boundaries that will allow the new priests to establish themselves, and that allow me to move on. For my many Austin friends: I’m still around (probably until Christmas) and I’ll be in touch. Thanks!