"I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes" (Matthew 8:9).
Today I write with a great lump in my throat. I have been reassigned. My final weekend as your pastor will be September 23-24. After that I begin duties as pastor of the church of St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park.
Please share with me a confidence that God is now doing something new and beautiful for this parish and school. Your new priest will be Fr. Nels Gjengdahl. Fr. Gjengdahl was ordained in 2007. He gives up a post as school chaplain and theology instructor at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights to serve among all of you. Before that he served at the parishes of St. Odilia in Shoreview and St. John Neumann in Eagan.
Maybe you have heard of Fr. Gjengdahl and the great work he has done with the youth and young adults of our Archdiocese. Or maybe you've seen news clips of him celebrating Mass for the Minnesota Twins or braving sub-zero January wind chills while skating down the Red Bull Crashed Ice course in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul.
I genuinely assure you that I could not have picked a better spiritual leader to help you to answer God's call at this moment in the history of Nativity of Mary parish and school.
Please know that the capital campaign we have been planning will press forward! I pledge to you and to Fr. Gjengdahl that I will work hard to make sure that I hand over a house of God that is financially and structurally strong.
All of this has developed quickly. I must rush to get this letter in the mail. I know that in the days ahead God will grant me just the right moments in which I can express my gratitude and farewells to you. In the meantime, know that never have you been closer to my heart or more central in my prayers.
With peace and awakening new hope,
Fr. Dennis Zehren