To say that I am pleased to return to St. Gall Parish after an absence of ten years is a misnomer. For those who do not know me, I am Fr. Dan Hussey, your new pastor, and I look forward to serving you on July 1, together with Fr. Chris Kanowitz, who spent his pastoral year with me here in Elko. Ten years ago, when I finished chaplain active duty in the US Army, with 13 years service and the rank of major, I arrived in the diocese of Reno, thanks to my great friend and soon to be Minden retiree, Fr. Oliver Curran. Fr. Oliver, back then, suggested that I would like the Reno diocese. Upon his advise, I made arrangements to be interviewed by Bishop Calvo, and the Personnel Board, and was accepted. When I arrived from Fort Hood, Texas, on the following February, bishop explained that the assignments for the diocese would take place on the following July 1, and until then he asked if I could assist Fr. Paul in St. Gall. I spent the following months, happily, at St. Gall, introducing myself again to civilian life, and following up with the VA on some medical issues that were part of my military service, mainly PTSD. Fr. Paul and his staff were very kind to me, and I quickly came to like my (short) service and the many fine people I met in the Gardnerville/Minden area.
That summer I was asked to see the bishop, and he asked me to pastor St. Joseph’s Church in Elko, together with its sister parishes in Wells, Carlin and Eureka, a mission at Jackpot, and later, a worship space that we built in Spring Creek. There were also three priests assigned here at Elko. I have some regrets about splitting up the present team (Fr. Biju, Fr. Tomy, Deacon Franklin and myself), as we have established a good chemistry, though I am happy that Fr. Biju will be the new pastor here, so as to provide continuity of service. I must say that my first year in Elko was not my best, and I was ready to return to the military. However, I stayed, and much longer than I had expected – ten years in total. But the sense for a fresh start is always appealing, and when St. Gall opened up for a new pastor last May, I threw my hat into the ring. I was overjoyed to be appointed. Although I will miss Elko very much, after ten years, I believe the time has come for another pastor to bring his own vision and perspective into the parishes. It will remain a three-priest parish, with Fr. Joe Walsh (who is well known to you) and another assistant, from India, but presently working in Los Angeles. I am expected in Gardnerville on June 29, when the packers deliver, and I believe I will be at all Masses that Sunday. I will be bringing my dog, Paddy, with me. I have always had a dog and love them to bits.
I have no immediate plans regarding St. Gall Parish, nor should I, as I need to take stock of what I find, and listen, especially to the staff, Pastoral and Financial Councils, and the parishioners at large. I love the Gardnerville/ Minden area and look forward to having a VA facility close by, and of course having my great friend Fr. Oliver as a parishioner (whom I am sure will use Offering Envelopes!)
Finally, a word of thanks to Fr. Paul. To be pastor of a parish as large as St. Gall’s is quite a challenge. Apart from this, Fr. Paul was very involved in diocesan activities, such as Priests Pastoral Council, Personnel Board, Vocations Director, and our great work camps. Much can be said of a guy who desires to serve time on the missions. There will not be many creature comforts there, but I know that Fr. Paul will be as committed to the people of Jamaica as he was to the people of St. Gall’s. May the road always rise to meet you Fr. Paul, and thank you for what you have accomplished in the Lord’s name.
God bless, Father Dan