Holy Transitions in Ministry

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  June 28, 2014

            When it comes to planting and harvesting in the fertile fields of God’s divine ministry, there are many who labor and some whose labors are particularly important. In the grand harvest of evangelism and ministry to which God calls the faithful, it is very often the case that those who sow will never harvest what they sow, leaving the fertile field ready for God to call someone else to reap the bounty of their labors.
            Jesus speaks of this dynamic reality in the 4th Chapter of John when he tells the disciples that he sends them to reap a harvest that they did not sow. “Others have labored,” he reminds them, “and you have entered into their labor.” The Apostle Paul builds on Jesus’ teaching in 1 Corinthians 3 when he says that all who labor in the name of Christ’s ministry, build on the foundation that is Jesus Christ and continues building the ministry to bring the labors of others to fruition, just as our present labors will be enhanced in days to come by the labors of others.
            This simple biblical truth is easy to understand, but reality shows us the transition between laborers can be hard on a faith community—particularly when that transition ends a long tradition of faithful service in the name of Jesus Christ. Today the faith community of Carlsbad acknowledges such transition.
            85 years ago, faithful laborers in the Franciscan order came to Carlsbad to lead the Roman Catholic communities of our area. In the sweeping changes that mark God’s constant spiritual working within the community of the faithful, the order is reorganizing, meaning the beloved priests that so faithfully serve here will perform their final Mass tomorrow.
            Father Cyprian Uline, thinks back over his nine years in the parish here in Carlsbad with a loving smile. “I will miss the wonderful people of Carlsbad the most,” he says. “They have loved me and helped me be the pastor God wants me to be.” He recalls that the most rewarding experiences in his tenure here have been the large number of people who have come back to the Mass and he joyously smiles with the memory of how many lives that simple miracle has blessed. Along with Father Cyprian, Father Valentine Jankowski has over 17 years of faithful service to Carlsbad and surrounding areas. Father Regis Schlagheck has been here four years. Each, in their own deeply pastoral and loving capacity, have contributed tremendously to the faith community.
            Their spiritual and pastoral leadership extends far beyond the Roman Catholic community. Fathers Cyprian and Valentine have been close friends, confidants, and trusted collogues for many other pastors and faith leaders in Carlsbad throughout their time here. They have been active participants in ecumenical events, prayer gatherings, and many community ministry opportunities.
            Coming, as they did, to Carlsbad the Priests harvested the fertile fields sown by their Franciscan brothers over the years and have faithfully represented the sacred presence of Jesus Christ so central to their sacred calling. Yet, as God’s transformative and ever-changing ministry through the church calls for new and different expressions of ministry has now called them to new pastures of ministry, the faithful of Carlsbad must now prayerfully say farewell to a sacred, and much-loved, chapter in our Christian history. We do so with fond appreciation of their gift of faithful Christian leadership and spirituality, as well as prayerful anticipation of the new and dynamic leadership God will send to Carlsbad for a new generation.
            Their ministry will be celebrated tomorrow (June 29th)  from 1-4 PM at the Walter Gerrells Center.