INTRODUCTORY BULLETIN LETTER FROM OUR NEW PASTOR
It is a joy for me to write to you for the first time as your new Pastor!
I thank Fr. Tuck and all the parish staff for their warm welcome and for making my move to St. Charles smooth.
Let me tell you a little about myself. My parents are originally from New York (my dad from Upstate and my mom from the City), and they and my two younger brothers and nephews live in Northern Virginia. Between my father’s work in the Foreign Service and my own experiences, I have been blessed to live in Panama, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Spain, France, Egypt and Ethiopia, and I have travelled widely. These experiences have given me a profound appreciation for the richness of different cultures in general, as well as a love for the unity and beautiful diversity of the Church in particular. I attended American schools overseas, public schools when Stateside, the College of William and Mary (Go Tribe!), St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
In my twenty-one years as a priest I’ve been privileged to serve as a Parochial Vicar (including my first assignment at St. Charles!), as a representative of the Holy See in Africa, as Pastor of a large suburban (mostly Hispanic) parish, and as a college chaplain (at Christendom College in the beautiful Shenandoah V alley).
As far as pastimes go, I consider myself a foodie, and I enjoy sacred art (I wrote my doctoral dissertation on sacred architecture), an eclectic variety of music, classic movies, hiking, and riding my motorcycle (which, for now, I left behind in the Valley...).
But enough about me. Let me mention what is most important to me: Jesus, and you.
I thank the Lord Jesus for the immeasurable blessings he has given me and, now, for the gift of being your shepherd. I echo Pope Francis (in The Joy of the Gospel) in inviting you to join me in “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ . . . to do this unfailingly each day”– that is, to allow ourselves to be discipled by him. And we are missionary disciples–together let us share the joy we have found in Jesus by zealously embracing the New Evangelization: nourishing practicing Catholics, welcoming lukewarm or fallen-away Catholics, and reaching out to those who don’t share our faith. Let us do so always mindful of the Church’s preferential love for the poor.
I look forward to meeting and to getting to know each of you. I encourage you to put your gifts at the service of your parish. St. Charles Parish is a great example of the unity in diversity of the Church, but it is especially our most urban, most youthful and hippest parish! I pray that, together, we will also make it the holiest parish.
Please be assured of my daily prayers for you, while I beg a remembrance in yours. I love being a priest and I know I’ll love being a priest at St. Charles! Although I am weak, imperfect and sinful, all I have is yours (Lk 15:31), for I am,
Your father, brother, friend and servant in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Don Planty