Introduction to Father John
A NOTE FROM FATHER JOHN
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Holy Trinity parish family, I know how quickly word spreads in a dedicated and tight-knit community, so I’m sure you’re aware that you have a new pastor named Fr. John Cronin. Pretty much immediately after my arrival, however, we have been kept from each other’s company by the mandated Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions meant to keep us safe as the virus continues to peak in New York.
I must tell you, when I had to say my first mass in private on Monday, March 16, I couldn’t stop crying for being detached from the faithful, and for their separation from the most precious sacrament of the Eucharist. While a shepherd suffers the absence of his flock, I beg you not to despair and to remain faithful, hopeful, and loving toward this little piece of the Body of Christ made up of each of us. Pray every day for deliverance from this virus. Pray for those suffering and dying from it, and for their caregivers and medical and public health and science professionals.
Many of us are beginning to appreciate what we take for granted: we are social creatures who need human contact to thrive. By our baptism, we are called to communion -- communion with one another, bound together in Christ, who raises us up to our Father. Now we must raise each other up in prayer, and remain in spiritual communion. And check in on each other by phone or text. And don’t hesitate to reach out to the parish phone number when you need a compassionate ear. We’re still operating under the restrictions laid out.
I can’t wait to meet my new family face-to-face. But until then, let me just give you a very brief sketch of my life. I grew up in Port Schuyler (Watervliet) in St. Brigid’s Parish, taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph through 8th grade. We were a tight-knit community too, and we bore much pain and loss when our five churches were consolidated into one. But the faith lives on. I was then taught by the Christian Brothers at LaSalle Institute in Troy, and Manhattan College. I earned my M.S. in Educational Psychology at SUNY, Albany, and stayed in literacy research a handful of years before getting certified to teach elementary children, and found a parish home at St. Madeleine Sophie’s in Schenectady/Guilderland.
I’m “the baby” of my family, with an older brother, Tim, and sister, Terri. My dad, Jack, died suddenly about eight years ago, and my mom, Clementine, still lives in my childhood home. I and my siblings were adopted by these loving and faith-filled parents of mine. I was blessed with a family nurturing me in the Catholic faith, and felt called to priesthood most palpably when I was serving at the stations of the cross on Good Friday when I was 10 years old. But as I entered college, I entered a vast desert, wandering in denial of my true calling. I even left the church for a handful of years. Though I tried to abandon God, He never abandoned me! He just would not let me go -- much to my newfound gratitude, joy, and peace.
So after a long journey in the desert, I was driven by the Holy Spirit (and the Bishop of Albany!) to enter Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA at 41 years of age. I was ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 17, 2017. I had a blast as the Parochial Vicar for Mater Christi Parish and School my first two years. I then served at the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice at RPI as they began to undergo a transition the last seven months. And now, I’m blessed to be joined to the Holy Trinity Parish community as a new pastor. I want to get to know everyone. I want to honor the traditions of the parish and let many of you teach me the rhythms of the place. Especially as we journey together spiritually this Lent, bearing the Cross of social distancing, I ask we pray for each other and continue to grow as a family of families in Christ. This is a time to trust in the power of the Risen Christ, who will see us through our current trials.
With love in Christ,
Fr. John Cronin