Diversity is a wonderful gift in a parish rectory because no one size fits all. In our rectory at Holy Trinity there were four different approaches to ministry and life. The Pastor rapidly gaining on ninety years of age was primarily concerned with squeezing every nickel until the buffalo coughed and ranting about Kleenexes that were found in the church after the Sunday masses. I am sure that at one point in his life he was vibrant and caring but at this stage he was the proverbial Dr. No. The sin of having any light on was far more a capital offense than fornication or even murder. The Lord may have said “let there be light” but Monsignor W chose to ignore that guidance. He also had a spy network that would rival the CIA. Regular phone calls reporting any forbidden activity by the young curates was fodder for a scolding.
Father John was a priest for many years when I arrived and was out of the mold that spent a good deal of his pastoral life telling people what they did wrong. He was in fairness always kind and gracious to me despite the fact that we had vastly different views of ministry. Also he was an extraordinary cook which was a blessing. Our regular cook was an angel but a calamity in the kitchen. The food was so bad that many times I hid a large manila envelope on my lap and filled it with the atrocity of the day. At Thanksgiving she served a turkey that appeared to be hit by a Trailways bus.
Gene McCoy was totally devoted to people and was respected and loved by many. He had weathered the storm of living with Monsignor No and had carved out significant ways to make an impact on many parishioners. He was not only a good model to emulate but a friend that I could lean on .The parish was growing in leaps and bounds and without someone like Gene it would have been overwhelming.
In essence parishioners had a choice as to who they would go to for all sorts of services and the days were filled with ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Despite my initial fears that this post was going to be the first of one difficult assignment after another I quickly realized that being in Westfield was a singular blessing.

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