It is truly amazing how fast time flies when you are immersed in working day in and day out in a parish The first two years were quickly coming to a close since Sal had been assigned to Holy Trinity parish. There had been so many inspiring moments in that time ,but the relationship between he and the pastor had completely gone south. Sal did everything he could to avoid confrontations with his pastor ,but the rigid rules imposed on the curates were almost always in contradiction to what were the critical needs of the parishioners.Sal was well aware that he was in all probability going to be transferred ,and despite going to another”station of the cross” parish he would be eternally grateful for the time he had spent in Westbury
It was a sad evening the night before the clerical assignments were to be announced, and Sal offered to take Gene out for dinner. In the middle off the meal Sal thanked Gene for all he had done for him, and Gene in like manner responded. The two had forged a mutual respect for each other, and shared a common vision of service to others. It was the end of their joint venture, but there were many moments of laughter through the meal. Neither man could wish ill to befall the pastor despite all that they had experienced. However, they both admitted that every night before they retired they asked the Lord if he had forgotten to call anyone to eternal life that day.
When the meal was over both priests drove back to the rectory.Sal made a theatrical gesture of goodbye to Gene ,and ascended the stairs to his attic domain. In anticipation of his coming departure Sal packed his bags that evening certain that there would be a special delivery message for him in the morning. He said the first Mass of the day and when he returned to the rectory he was met at the door by Gene.”I have been transferred Sal and am to report this afternoon to Sacred Heart parish in Newark”Sal was speechless ,and having been ready to go he again thanked Gene and wondered who would be his replacement.
Sal did not have to wait very long before he found out who was to be Gene McCoy’s replacement. Father Flannery informed him at breakfast that the pastor had shared the name of Father John Murphy one of the newly ordained.Sal searched his memory but barely could envision the new member of the team. He remembered that there was a “Jack Murphy” two years behind him in the seminary but knew little about him.
Precisely at one o’clock that afternoon the doorbell rang and Sal thought it might be the new curate so he answered the door.Standing in front of him was a tall.immaculately attired priest with a suitcase in hand. Clark Kent glasses and a winning nervous smile adorned this tall lanky visitor.Before Sal could speak the stranger said”Hi Sal it is great to see you again.:He offered his hand, and Sal taken by the fact that Jack even remembered him shook his hand and led him into the rectory.”Place your bag down and I will take you to meet the pastor” Entering the office at the end of the hallway Sal gently knocked on the door and said”Monsignor Father Murphy is here”As had happened two years prior the pastor smoking a cigar watching “Wheel of Fortune” in his overstuffed leather chair made no attempt to greet his new curate.Sal motioned for Jack to come with him .Instead of confining Gene’s replacement to the Siberia of the attic Sal led him to Gene;s old room. For the next hour they chatted and Sal did not realize that his life would be dramatically changed by the presence of “Jack Murphy.”