“Being ordained means that I am called to be a disciple and follow wherever I believe that God is leading me.”

Those are some of the words that Father Jim McClintock wrote to the members of his parish, because after more than 13 years at St. Henry he has been reassigned by the diocese.

He will first go to Beaumont to serve where he may be needed within the diocese, then he will go to Rome in an extremely rare opportunity.

“I will have the chance for refreshment and renewal through a sabbatical program in Rome this coming autumn at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education,” he wrote. “This will give me the chance to update and refresh myself on the latest theological research and documents of the church.

“I have been here for over 13 years and it has not been a job, it has been a joy. This is a great parish filled with wonderful people,” he said in concluding his last Mass Sunday morning. It was an emotional time for most that were there.”

Following the Mass a reception was provided by the parish. The building was filled to capacity as Father Jim was given an ovation that lasted for several minutes. When the applause stopped he turned to walk off and was stopped by Leon Pittman, grand knight of the parish’s Knights of Columbus.

“Wait a minute, we are not through,” Pittman said.

Pittman, Barbara Piat, Mary Craig and Don Cole presented Father Jim with a gold, engraved chalice from the parish in gratitude for his service to them. Nearly everyone gave a hug to or received a hug from Father Jim. There were bittersweet moments as the parishioners felt the sadness of goodbye mixed with the best wishes for their priest and friend to do well.

Father Jim is a man with a warm friendly nature and a great deal of modesty.

“We were able to accomplish a lot in my time here because I am a good delegator and there are so many hard-working dedicated people in this parish,” he said. “The people are the ones who have done all the work. I have just been their helper. There are some things that are still to be done, but that is alright, they will be done in God’s time.”

Also attending the reception was Father Jim’s family, his father Louis McClintock, mother Teresa McClintock, sister Christy McClintock Gamage, brothers Michael McClintock and wife Mary, Danny McClintock and wife Georgia, and Kelly McClintock and son Ryan.

Father Steven Leger becomes the new priest for St. Henry Parish on July 1, arriving from St. Anne’s Parish in Beaumont. His first liturgies are set for the weekend of July 5-6.