Life continues to be quite hectic in San Diego and I find myself drifting more and more away from the life that I had known as a parish priest. I do not love the church any less than the day of my ordination but life and my role in it has been altered. I harbor no resentment or regret but find that the rules and narrow passage can no longer be where I spend the rest of my days. It is not an easy choice ,and there are feelings that are troublesome because I… know this decision will be harmful to some who believed in me. The temptation to find a way to stay is quite strong but it is the wrong decision and I would be only a shell of what I hope to be.
Having decided to leave the active ministry I returned to New Jersey and made an appointment to see the Archbishop. The irony of this meeting is that despite the fact that the Most Reverend Thomas A.Boland was most conservative and I most progressive there was a bond of friendship between us. He was always especially kind to me, perhaps because my pastor was his immediate aid, and in the meeting he actually pleaded with me to take more time before asking to be released. His kindness moved me, but not to the point that I could reverse the decision that I had spent months on reviewing. I did not know it at the time, and at the end of our conversation he graciously gave me his blessing but he denied my request.
I felt after returning to San Diego quite relieved and knew that it was time to start making plans for the future. My years in Westfield were treasures in my heart and I would not trade them for fame or fortune and I will ever be grateful for all that transpired in those five years. Despite the shedding of the collar the need to serve and find meaning were still vibrant and compelling. Frankl’s words and more important his modeling were a blend of the Sermon on the Mount and Existentialism. There was a peace in my soul that I had not known for months.