adiós, adieu, addio, adeus, aloha, arrivederci, ciao, bon voyage, sayonara, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir, shalom, totsiens, vale, zaijian, Farewell Fr. Jim
This weekend we say a fond farewell to our pastor, Fr. Jim Turner. He has been here a long time, 22 years to be exact. And on his 35th anniversary of his ordination he takes his leave on to a well-deserved rest leading to lighter work within the diocese. While I have only had the pleasure of knowing and working with Fr. Jim for about four years, many of the staff have been walking the journey with him since the parish’s inception. So, as all of you say your farewells this weekend, it is fitting that the staff also express their parting thoughts and wishes.
I met Fr. Jim a long time ago—1989 to be exact. I was a 21-year-old kid in love with the church and wanting to be a part of something bigger than myself. Fr. Jim was the pastor of St. Pius in Flagstaff at the time, and along with my best friend, his youth minister, John Day, I began to contribute to his gray hair. When I moved to Phoenix to work at St. Paul’s as a youth minister, I thought our time together was done, but 16 years ago, we reunited here at St. Thomas More when he asked me to lead the RCIA. Fr. Jim’s commitment to making sure all are welcome at St. Thomas More has been a driving force for the entire staff. Time and time again, families have expressed how welcoming St. Thomas More is, and they are so excited to have found the parish where they can worship. Fr. Jim, thank you for making sure that so many could find a parish where they knew they were welcome. You will be missed, and we thank you for your strong leadership and shepherding so many over the past 35 years of your priesthood.
It has been a very rewarding experience to work with Fr. Jim for the past sixteen years. His successful pastoral leadership of St. Thomas More is evidenced in the many thriving ministries active in parish life. His support within Christian Formation is especially appreciated and has helped Ann and myself create a vibrant program for catechists, students, and parents in the elementary process. I wish Fr. Jim success and happiness in all his new endeavors.
Deacon Richard & Nancy Kijewski:
Aside from being a very capable Parish Administrator, Fr. Jim is especially gifted as a Pastoral Minister – particularly to the sick and dying. Over the 23 years of his being pastor, he has brought healing and comfort to thousands of parishioners by walking with them through their illnesses, surgeries, life situations, and (in many cases) their going home to God. I know the community will miss his healing touch in those circumstances.
Deacon Joe Herrera and Dolly Sokol:
Thank you, Fr. Jim, for welcoming Dolly and I to the parish. We appreciate your support and encouragement, your wisdom and counsel, your humor and kindness. May the next stage of your journey be filled with many blessings!
Kari Beth Paulk:
Thank you, Fr. Jim for allowing me to use my gifts and talents to help me grow in my ministries and become a better disciple. You’ve shown me how to allow others to grow by allowing them to share themselves as well. Simply put, you’ve been the best boss I’ve ever had. I also don’t know anyone else but you that does a perfect impression of my cackling laugh! Much Love, Peace & Joy to you!
Serving the St. Thomas More community under the leadership of Fr. Jim has been a privilege and a pleasure. We’ve all been blessed to have a founding pastor with a clear and grounded vision of Vatican II. I will miss his insight seasoned with a great sense of humor.
I have certainly enjoyed working for Fr. Jim for the past 4 years! I’m really hoping he will stop by every now and then for a sourdough pretzel!
From the beginnings in Judy’s home, to our ‘Little Church on the Prairie’ as it was fondly referred to, Fr. Jim has guided the foundation of our parish home, and for that we are grateful. I never thought that over 18 years ago when I came to volunteer, and then accepted the position as parish secretary, this would be my home away from home. Fr. Jim has given the staff the opportunity to help him with the building of our parish home and family; and for that I am truly thankful. Being the wonderful chef that he is, we will miss his potluck dishes and new recipes!
Judy (Casar) Rogers:
In 1997 I was living in Los Angeles, CA and working for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. One day I got a phone call from a friend of mine, Fr. Jim Turner, inviting me to come to Phoenix to start a new parish with him. I said ‘no”. Phoenix was too darn hot and too far from the ocean and beaches. He called again and I decided to take him up on his offer and see what life would offer. I have no regrets. It’s been a fun ride. Thanks for the memories.
I started attending St. Thomas More in the fall of 2003 about the same time I started working for the diocese in the Office of Worship. Travelling around the diocese, it was always nice to come “home” to a celebration of the mass that felt comfortable, due to Fr Jim’s liturgical spirituality, and his homilies that brought more depth to the Scripture proclaimed.
So when the chance came a year later to join the St. Thomas More team, I was pleased to come to work for Fr Jim. In nearly 15 years of planning and celebrating the mass, I’ve come to an even deeper appreciation of his approach, which fully embraced the desire of the Church for everyone to be welcomed to participate in the mass. In those 15 years, he’s only had three songs out of our vast repertoire that he’s told me he never wanted to sing again!
Mary Ann Ronan:
Father Jim is a perceptive leader who wants his staff to succeed at what they do in using their talents. His gift for delegation allows the parishioners to own the parish. They are encouraged to take responsibility for making sure the mission of welcoming and inclusion happens in each ministry they are involved in. I always felt included in the ministries of the parish even though I was not a full-time employee. Doing contract ministry in Bible Study, retreats, days of reflection or other outreach, I feel a real connection to the mission and the staff. I am very grateful for the years after my official retirement to be able to continue to serve the people of St. Thomas More Parish.
For the dedication and hard work, you deserve the best retirement ever. Enjoy this new journey of your life. I have been a parishioner here at St Thomas More for 8 years and been working in the Front office for three years now, which has been a pleasure working with you. Thank you, for all you do and your kindness. God Bless
I have only been part of St. Thomas More staff for a couple of years, but Fr. Jim has always made me feel like I have been part of the team (family). He understands that his role is not to do all the work of ministry, but to equip others to do the work of ministry. He has been a great shepherd of this parish. Fr. Jim may be leaving St. Thomas More but he will always be part of us and he leaves a lasting impression so that we can continue to live and share the love of God as he has done for us.
Deacon Sal & Beth Lema:
May 29, 2019
The first time I met Fr. Jim I was on my knees praying. It was the second week that we attended mass at St. Thomas More. Beth had a conversation with Kari Beth about me being a deacon. Fr. Jim heard about it and wanted to find out if I had been assigned, and if I spoke Spanish. Answering no to both, brought a huge smile on his face, a card from his pocket and the words, “I want to talk with you next week, give me a call.” And the rest is history.
In the four years my wife Beth and I have had the pleasure of serving St. Thomas More with Fr. Jim, we have been able to bring ministries that both are charitable and enjoyable. I thank him for his faith in us and in our abilities to achieve the goal. We are not saying goodbye, or farewell, but rather we will be seeing you. For you will always be in our lives in some way, either in our minds, our hearts, or in passing in service. Remember, retirement means freedom to work harder!