When a pastor or other staff person leaves a parish, it is often a time of sadness, but also an opportunity to send them with our prayers and God’s blessings into whatever new community or ministry God is calling them.
The Book of Blessings, Chapter 67, offers a brief blessing for departing parishioners, consisting of a single intercession and a triple blessing. However, if you are looking for something more substantial that you might use at a parish gathering outside of Sunday Mass, you might consider the simple script below. Permission is given to adapt the texts as you need.
The assembly gathers with an appropriate opening song.
Sisters and brothers,
Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the Good News
to the ends of the earth.
Today we send our friend, N., to announce the Gospel in new ways.
With hearts open to the Spirit, let us listen to God’s Word.
A lector proclaims Romans 10:9-18 or another appropriate reading.
After the reading, the leader invites members of the assembly to share stories about how the ministry of the pastor, parochial vicar, or staff person has been a proclamation of the Gospel for that community.
God feeds us with the Word of Life.
Let us pray for our sister/brother, N.,
that God may continue to nourish her/him with this living Word.
For N.: for God to fill her/his heart with compassion, her/his hands with strength to do the Spirit’s will, and her/his mouth to speak Christ’s peace to all. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
For all ministers, for the Holy Spirit to bring to completion the good work begun in them by Christ. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
For this community, for comfort in the absence of our friend and renewed commitment to the vision of God’s reign. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
For the community that will receive our sister/brother, N., for a gracious welcome, a generosity of spirit, and genuine care for our friend. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
For those who long to hear the Word of God, for those who are poor and hungry, and those without work or companionship. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
Let us ask for God’s blessing upon our sister/brother.
Lord Jesus, Word Made Flesh,
from the beginning of creation
you named and claimed us for yourself.
Look with kindness upon your servant, N.,
who leaves this community,
marked by your cross, fed by your word,
filled with our care, and sent to be your presence
to all she/he meets.
Guide her/him on the way,
and bless her/him with your wisdom,
that she/he may be a word of hope for a world in need.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
And may the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil,
and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Conclude with an appropriate song of praise.