May 24, 2013
Join the parish for a farewell reception on Sunday, June 9 after 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses.
Very soon, Father Christopher Roberts will leave St. Alphonsus Liguori to take on the role of administrator at St. Mary’s parish in Union City and St. Joseph’s parish in Winchester, on the Indiana/Ohio border. We managed to catch up with him this week, and here’s what he had to say:
What are some of your more memorable experiences at St. Alphonsus Liguori?
I think of the house visits I’ve done in the past year. I visited 120-plus families in Sacraments of Initiation and also new parishioners. That was very helpful in getting to know where people are and their impressions of the parish.
Describe the role of an administrator.
An administrator is a canonical term which basically means that you’re a pastor except you can’t change the Mass schedule and hire or fire staff. For a priest who is moving into administrative responsibility for parishes, Bishop Doherty’s inclination is to have an administrator for a year and then have the administrator be named pastor. It’s just testing the waters to make sure that, for a younger priest, it is the right fit.
What do you look forward to in your new assignment?
As an associate pastor, I’m trying to fit myself into the vision for the parish. In a pastor-kind-of-role, there’s the recognition that I’ll be there for a while, and I’m responsible for directing the vision. Thinking on a much wider horizon - that’s something to look forward to.
What are some of the challenges you foresee?
Budgeting, supervising paid staff, facilities issues, parish councils, meetings, scheduling...now, if I want to get some time away from the parish on a weekend, that’s very simple. Father O’Keeffe and I negotiate that. In a one-priest parish, my freedom to get away is going to be a little different.
What are your long-term goals?
To become a good pastor - a priest who understands how to challenge people, but also to do it in such a way that brings them along slowly. To be in parishes that grow, that have a sense of deepening spirituality and are able to further the mission of the Church. The possibility of pursuing some kind of further study is down the road. In terms of ongoing education, reading is a tremendous priority for me.
How was living with Father O’Keeffe and Father Hasser?
I couldn’t imagine a better experience. I lived with Father O’Keeffe one summer when I was discerning, when I was 21, at St. Joan of Arc in Kokomo, and Father Hasser and I are classmates and had always been friendly. It was a very positive experience.
Will you still lead the pilgrimage to Spain?
Contributions to the parish
Here is a sample of some things Fr. Roberts brought to St. Alphonsus Liguori through his ministry.
- Healing Services
- Prayer series
- 6 a.m. daily Mass (Lent 2012)
- Homily series
- Blogging and podcasting
- Young Adult book studies
- House blessings and visits for 120+ families
- Vocation panels
- Liturgy and Pope talks
- Featured Christmas article in Zionsville Times Sentinel
- Pilgrimage to Spain
- Youth Retreat Chaplain
- Knights of the Holy Temple
Yes. I’ll be leaving on June 23rd from the parish. There’ll be 47 of us - about half from St. Alphonsus and half from other states and other parishes in the diocese. I’ll return a couple of days after my assignment actually begins.
What will you miss about Zionsville?
The people. I’ve walked with a lot of people on their journey of faith, and those relationships change. I probably won’t see 98 percent of the people in Zionsville again, and the 2 percent that I do see will be different.
Father Roberts leaves us with these final thoughts:
God is love and this is the reality that undergirds all of existence, and we are here today because God is holding us in this existence through his love. The love and mercy of God should be like the air the Christian breathes.
Keeping in touch: Father Roberts will keep in touch through his ongoing podcasts and blogs. Listen to a podcast of the complete interview.