Rev. C. Donald Howard, pastor of Christ the Redeemer and a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, is stepping down as pastor for the parish. In a letter published on the back page of the church’s Bulletin (January 20, 2013), he spoke about this change as continuous with his vocational story which began many years ago.
Fr. Howard has been at Christ the Redeemer for almost 25 years as pastor. He summarizes his time humorously as originally not wanting to be sent and the community not wanting him. Despite that, after all these years, what remains is the grace and blessings bestowed upon this parish through all the relationship and celebrations too numerous to name.
Fr. Howard celebrates effectively in both English and Spanish, a great gift for a parish that runs Religious Education programs and sacramental preparation for the two large communities, in addition to the two Spanish masses offered on the weekends. The overlap of cultures and their pastoral needs brought into life a vibrant parish in Sterling Park. Christ the Redeemer parishioners, the Atonement Friars, and Fr. Howard’s pastoring played no small role in all of that.
Fr. Howard plans to step down before Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season begins. He will return to friary life in Washington DC where he will live in community with two other friars, continue to minister as a priest in English and Spanish, and run retreats for laity. A reception for Fr. Howard will be offered after all the weekend masses on February 2-3.