PHOTO: Rev. Fernando Lopez, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish. (facebook image)
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Rev. Fernando Lopez, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish, announced Sunday he will be leaving to accept a new position within the Diocese of Trenton this summer. News came as a shock to the hundreds of parishioners and guests at the Easter Sunday masses when the congregation read the weekly message from the pastor in their Sunday bulletins.
Addressed to “the Parish Family,” Father Fernando first extended wishes for a happy and Blessed Easter season, and reminded the faithful to “rejoice together as a parish family, and a renewal of our faith.” He then thanked all who “commit every day to make our parish vibrant and joyful. My time among you has been challenging, but with your help we have had many accomplishments.” The pastor said “I can see myself as a different priest and a different person in a positive way” because of his being here in the Bayshore.
“With joy and sadness at the same time, I would like to announce I have an opportunity to continue my education,” the pastor wrote. “Therefore, I will be leaving the parish to take another position where I will be a parochial vicar and no longer a pastor. This will give me the time to focus on my pastoral work as well as my studies.”
Fr. Lopez promised the congregation he would provide more details over the next few weeks as future plans are confirmed and ended by telling the parish members “You will remain in my heart and in my prayers as I hope I will remain in yours.”