HomeNewsResurrection sorry to see Pastor Jim DeGrassa go

Resurrection sorry to see Pastor Jim DeGrassa go

By Seraphine John

Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Rhawnhurst bids a fond farewell to the Rev. James DeGrassa, who has served as pastor with unwavering dedication since June 2017. The weekend of May 11-12 marked a bittersweet moment as Father Jim, as he is affectionately known, announced his departure from Resurrection, following the decision of Archbishop Perez to relocate him to another parish. The new pastor will be the Rev. Alan Okon, the current pastor at St. Francis de Sales, in Delaware County.

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Father Jim’s arrival in 2017 at the age of 35 coincided with the merging of Our Lady of Ransom Parish with Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, a period marked by uncertainty and transition for many parishioners of Our Lady of Ransom. However, under Father Jim’s wise leadership, compassion and talents, the community not only weathered the storm but thrived, becoming a beacon of faith and unity.

Throughout his seven years at Resurrection, Father Jim has tirelessly advocated for a message of inclusivity and vitality, fostering spiritual growth through a myriad of social and entertainment programs. From neighborhood gatherings to cross-cultural events, Father Jim has embraced diversity, embodying the essence of a shepherd who tends to all his flock.

Under his guidance, Resurrection Parish underwent a transformation, embracing technology for evangelization with the establishment of a vibrant online presence. From live-streamed homilies to engaging social media interactions, Father Jim’s outreach extended far beyond the church walls, touching lives across the globe.

Moreover, Father Jim’s legacy extends beyond spiritual nourishment to the creation of tangible community spaces, such as the Life Center and Resso Cafe, where parishioners could gather, share fellowship and forge lasting bonds. His commitment to fostering a welcoming environment, particularly for newcomers and immigrants, has left an indelible mark on Resurrection Parish.

As Father Jim bids farewell to Resurrection, his parting words reflect a heart filled with gratitude for the love and support of the parish community. 

Dear beloved parishioners,

With a heart full of gratitude and great sadness, I write to you today with the news that Archbishop Perez has decided to move me. It is with mixed emotion that I announce my departure from this wonderful parish. Serving as your pastor has been the greatest privilege of my life, and the memories we have shared together will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Over the last seven years, we have grown together as a community, supporting one another through joyous celebrations and challenging times. I am continually inspired by the unwavering faith and dedication that each of you brings to our parish family. Together, we have accomplished so much, and I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved together.

As I reflect on my time here, I am filled with gratitude for the love and kindness that you have shown me. Your generosity, compassion and willingness to serve have made this journey truly special. It has been a privilege to walk alongside you on this journey of faith, and I am grateful for the friendships we have formed along the way.

While it is difficult to say goodbye, I take comfort in knowing that the seeds we have planted together will continue to grow and flourish in the days ahead. I am being sent to Queen of Peace Parish in Ardsley, only 20 minutes away. Though our paths may diverge, please know that you are my friends for life.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to our terrific parish staff, volunteers and all those who have supported me in my ministry here. Your dedication and hard work have been instrumental in the success of our parish, and I am deeply grateful for your partnership.

As I transition to my new parish, I ask for your prayers for guidance and strength. Know that you will remain in my prayers as well, and I trust that God will continue to bless and watch over each of you.

With sincere gratitude and affection,

Father Jim

While the path ahead may diverge, the seeds of faith and friendship sown together will continue to flourish. As he embarks on a new chapter at Queen of Peace Parish in Ardsley, Father Jim carries with him the prayers and well wishes of his beloved parishioners.

Mrs. Bhatti, a teacher at Resurrection Regional Catholic School, says, “Whenever there was a personal or family matter, he was always there to support you.” 

A parishioner, Mrs. Deskilewicz, says, “Father Jim has been a breath of fresh air here. His nonstop energy and constant laughter has kept the parish amicable and on its toes.”

In the spirit of Father Jim’s teachings, the community of Resurrection pledges to support its new pastor, embracing change with grace and resilience. Though saddened by his departure, they remain steadfast in their commitment to live out the values instilled by Father Jim, walking together on the journey of faith.

As Resurrection Parish bids farewell to Father Jim, they do so with hearts full of gratitude for his transformative leadership, unwavering friendship and profound impact on their lives. While they may part ways geographically, their bond remains unbroken, united in faith and friendship forged under Father Jim’s guiding light. The light will not be dimmed in any way soon, Father Jim himself hosts dinner in the rectory for varying parishioners every Saturday. From all at Resurrection, we send best wishes, and hope to see you bloom where you are planted. ••

Seraphine John is a Resurrection of Our Lord parishioner.

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