Sunday, September 03, 2006

Not Your Typical Rookie Pastor

The former USCCB general secretary is settling into the trenches at his first pastorate -- one with a bit of changes going on:
While Monsignor William Fay is new at leading a parish, he's no stranger to Brighton. His father grew up there, and Fay was born at Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center. Fay also worked as an orderly at St. Elizabeth's while attending the neighboring seminary.

Fay, whose assignment began July 1, spent a decade at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., and served as general secretary from 2001 to 2005. He managed the conference's staff of 350 at the height of the church's sexual abuse crisis.

His new post is ``like having died and gone to heaven," he said. ``This is just terrific. It will be challenging and exciting. I just can't believe it took me 32 years to become a pastor."

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Fay spent about two months this year in a parish learning Spanish.

Fay requested an urban, multicultural parish that had a school, and once St. Gabriel's Spanish Mass was transferred to St. Columbkille, it fit the bill.

Beginning with the new school year, Boston College will help run St. Columbkille's elementary school, once feared on the brink of closure. BC will help develop the curriculum, raise money, and train teachers, and will be represented on the school's board of trustees, along with the archdiocese and the parish. The arrangement is the first of its kind, according to the National Catholic Education Association.

Of course, how long it all lasts is anyone's guess -- holders of the general secretariat are traditionally fast-tracked to the front of the line for vacant dioceses. So don't say you weren't forewarned.