What is a sabbatical?

A sabbatical is an official extended period away from current ministry and responsibility for the purpose of ministerial, personal, spiritual and theological development and enrichment.

“Sabbatical” is related to “Sabbath,” which refers to the Biblical day of rest and worship, or the seventh day.

When will you be gone?

The dates of the three-month sabbatical are approximately May 22 – Aug. 21.

Why do priests go on sabbatical?

“It is time to grow in the priesthood, grow in spirituality, and in their faith.”

Why did you decide to take a sabbatical?

Normally it’s six years as a pastor to a specific parish, and that can be renewed for another 6 years, and the priest is given another assignment. Fr. Matt has been a priest for 17 years, 12 as the pastor at St. Patrick Parish, and he recently learned from his Superior that this will continue to be his assignment for some time to come.

“I belong to a religious congregation, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and we have no stipulation in terms of years of service in a specific assignment, so I decided last summer that next summer (now) would be a good time to take my sabbatical. Since Thanksgiving 2006, when I was assigned to this area, the longest amount of time that I have been away is two weeks.”

What do you do while on sabbatical?

“I will take a one-month retreat for spiritual renewal, with one week of total silence. Beyond that, I will do several weeks of scripture study immersion, parish leadership studies, and also some vacation time with my family.”

Who will celebrate Mass and do pastoral ministry during this time? 

Fr. Matthew Tomeny will be the main priest, and we will also have a rotation of priests who will help out with some of the Masses and pastoral duties. Of course, the deacons will continue their pastoral duties as well.

Who will be responsible for making decisions while you are gone?

The Holy Spirit.

Since 2014, Fr. Matt has had a leadership team that helps him make week-to-week decisions, and this team will continue to function in this manner during the sabbatical.

“I have full confidence in our leadership team, staff, Pastoral Council and Finance Council.”

What can parishioners do to help during Fr. Matt’s Sabbatical? 

Please pray that he has a fruitful sabbatical, continue to practice our faith daily and weekly with Sunday Mass, even when we are on vacation. And join the Summer Prayer Challenge. Learn more here!

Are you leaving St. Patrick Parish? 

“Yes. For three months. I’ll be back!”