1995 Feb 26 – RESIGNATION ACCEPTED (Prison Writings)
It is with mixed feelings I write to you that my resignation as Associate Pastor of St. Patrick Church has been accepted by Bishop Charron. Associate Pastors are assigned to three-year positions. This summer marks my 3rd year at St. Patrick’s. I did not resign because I wanted to leave St. Patrick’s. On the contrary, I have had three great years of priestly ministry and life in Council Bluffs. To my delight I have found the people of Council Bluffs and St. Patrick’s very loving and caring people whose faith is deep and strong. I will always cherish the ministerial and Sacramental moments I shared with you these last three years. Nor will I forget the strong personal friendships I have been blessed with at St. Patrick’s. I know I could not find a better Pastor to work for and work with than Msgr. Ed Pfeffer. He has been a great friend, support, and help to me throughout my tenure at St. Patrick’s. I hope I have been of some help to him.
It has been said that my resistance ways carry some liabilities in a parish setting. It is also true that my resistance ways can bring a parish community new challenges and opportunities for being Church. Because Msgr. Ed was open to these challenges and opportunities, the bulk of the St. Patrick Parish Community was open to receive me and the justice issues I brought into the ministry. Judging by the strong support I have received, especially the support I have gotten while incarcerated, I feel my time at St. Patrick’s has been a success. Perhaps more significant has been the response from those who disagree with my ways and my social justice perspective. There is no one way to see the world or the challenges that our faith calls us to embrace. People of good faith can and do disagree on the most vital and important social issues of our day. A mark of a mature and deeply rooted faith community is the degree it can tolerate and respect people of differing points of view. For the most part, the people who have disagreed with me at St. Patrick’s have done so with sincere hearts and with a measure of love and respect for me. This speaks well for our community.
The reason I resigned from St. Patrick’s is because I am feeling the need to get back to the Des Moines area. I have been away from Des Moines for 12 years. It is my hometown. Most of my family lives in Des Moines. I have a large extended Italian-American family and I am feeling a real need to reconnect with them. Plus my mother is 72 years old and I would like to be closer to home now while her health is still good. I would also like to get back to the Des Moines area because I would like to be closer to the Catholic Worker community there. I helped start that community in 1976 and I would like to be closer to them so I could be of more help to them.
So far I have been told that my resignation from St. Patrick’s has been accepted. I don’t know where I will next be assigned. It was a risk for me to seek this move. I now know I will be moving from an assignment that I love dearly. I have no guarantee what I will be going to Des Moines. Your continued prayers and support are urged.
In any event, I will be returning to St. Patrick’s after I am cut loose from here the Tuesday after Easter, April 18th, for the remaining three months of my assignment. With each passing day I get more and more excited about getting back home to be with you. This year’s Lenten journey has a special resurrection theme for me. Not only am I looking forward to celebrating Jesus’ resurrection come Easter Sunday morning, I am also looking forward to celebrating my own resurrection from this Prison Camp on Easter Tuesday!
Fr. Frank Cordaro