As you may have heard, I am leaving Immaculate Heart of Mary at the end of July and starting a new assignment. I will begin pastoring Our Lady, Queen of Peace and St. Anthony of Padua. Queen of Peace is in House Springs, and I will be living there while also pastoring St. Anthony in High Ridge. The communities are only ten miles apart, so I hope to work out a schedule that allows me the benefit of knowing and serving both communities. I have loved and enjoyed my years at IHM and the New Melle area. While I am the pastor of my own flock, I have enjoyed getting to know so many of my neighbors. I have a deep love and appreciation for so many of you as I became involved in the small-town vibe of New Melle life. We have such a wonderful community with a big-hearted willingness to welcome others. From the looks of it, growth and activity will increase over this coming decade as new neighbors move into our surrounding countryside. I am confident that New Melle will handle such growth well into the future.
As I pack over this final month, I am thankful to God for this assignment and all the remarkable souls I have met in my time here. I would have liked to spend a little more “Devin Jone’s” time in this community, I envy his 40 years, but 11½ years is a pretty fair shake as it goes for priests. I am sure I will be back from time to time to visit. Furthermore, I will miss the gang at the Smokehaus and all the friends I have made there. I doubt I will find a better place to park myself than at the end of the bar at Liz’s. The same goes for The V [VFW] and Fireside, as well as so many of our local businesses. I am certain I will have more than a few traditional “New Melle Goodbyes” of “One More Beer!” as I head out the door.
I will remember and pray for all of you as life leads me down another road to know and love more neighbors.
Fr. Tom Miller