For almost 20 years, I have proudly served as a priest in Ocean City, New Jersey, and for the past nine years as your pastor here at St. Damien Parish. It has been an honor and privilege to lead such a vibrant and unified Catholic community anchored in God’s love. Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end.
On July 15th, 2020, I will be retiring as your pastor. The policy of the Diocese of Camden states “a priest may retire at 70 years of age. However, a priest must retire when he reaches the age of 75.”
In January, I received a letter from the Personnel Office of the Diocese stating I must submit my resignation by January 30th to the Bishop.
On February 12th, 2020, I received a response to my resignation letter from Bishop Sullivan. It stated: “Permission is granted to you to retire effective July 15, 2020 from active ministry and to resign from your present assignment as Pastor of Saint Damien Parish in Ocean City.”
Bishop concluded his letter: “’Well done, good and faithful servant,’ the words of Jesus, can be said of you. For forty seven years as a priest, you have built up this local church. For which I say, thanks be to God and thanks be to Michael Rush.”
I want you all to know that if it were up to me, I would stay as long as I could. I’ve loved and appreciated my time in Ocean City, but the decision is out of my hands and God has a different plan for me.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to all of St. Damien’s parishioners, active and inactive, for making each of our three churches so special and reflective of the love of God. May the Lord bless each and every one of you.
– Father Michael P. Rush