As if July 1, I am retiring. As of June 5, I have completed 42 years of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church. And this ministry has been life and grace-filled. I have served people mainly in this general Dayton area, and my ministries have been many – a Jail Chaplain in Montgomery County for youth and adults, serving as an Associate in several Churches and as Pastor of several Churches as well, even at times, like now, involving several at the same time.
Most recently, I have served as Pastor of three Parishes at the same time – St. Brigid here in Xenia, St. Augustine in Jamestown and St. Paul in Yellow Springs. Each ministry and community I have served has been great, with each place unique and yet each part of a larger Church community as we share the life of the Lord with one another across all lines. As I retire July 1, I begin a new step in my life. And, I am sure this will be quite an adjustment, but also quite an opportunity.
And while Retirement is often viewed as a conclusion of one’s work or ministry in life, it is actually simply another step in our journey with the Lord and one another. I will no longer be a Pastor, per se. But, I remain an ordained minister in the Church. And while I will no longer have a specific assignment(s) to serve, I will, I am sure, be going about helping other Pastors who need a sub for a particular service or activity, etc. and likely find some new opportunities to become involved in some aspects of life I have not been able to spend much time with while in the positions I have been in for so long.
Life is full of many steps and stages – each unique and each full of life, if we remain open to it. The Lord has a way of leading us into new life and to walk with others in places and ways that we often do not expect. We walk together in faith, no matter what our age and circumstance.
Retirement is simply another one of the stages of life to which we share life with the Lord and one another. I definitely admit that I look forward to getting out of most of the meetings and other organizational elements of administration and leadership, but I also look forward to continuing to find new life with folks and in places through the Lord.
Retirement is not an end to the journey but another step in it – hopefully to focus more clearly and to celebrate what has been and continues to happen on the journey. It is a chance to step back and relax a bit and not to get so caught up in all the busy-ness of life but to take a proverbial deep “breath” of life and learn to remain more centered in all that we do and are – to remain true to our relationship with the Lord and one another.
In my experience, I have often found much wisdom and hope from those who are retired or aging – I pray I may remain more centered as some of them do and have. Whatever the changes and shifts in life’s journey, may we all remain focused, centered and connected. I admit I am excited as I begin this new step in life. I will definitely miss the many people I have walked with in my role as a Pastor, but I also look forward to the transition into new dimensions and experiences in life as well. No matter how much we have experienced life, there are always new pieces of life with the Lord and one another.
Fr. John E. Krumm, Pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Xenia, St. Augustine in Jamestown & St. Paul in Yellow Springs