LEWISTOWN - A familiar face returned to the Lewistown church community this summer.
The Rev. William Weary, who served the Sacred Heart and St. Jude parishes from 1989-1990, was assigned in June by Bishop Kevin Rhoades to pastor the two churches.
Now celebrating his 25th year of ministry, Weary said before coming to Lewistown he served a Danville parish for 12 years. His ministry has taken him throughout the Diocese of Harrisburg, serving a number of parishes as well as the chaplaincy at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Weary began his adult life as a journalist in Carlisle, but his career path soon turned to ministry.
"I decided to become a priest because I wanted to serve God and his people," Weary said. "It struck me as the best job in the world."
Weary said one of his missions as a priest is to make Christ's crucifixion and resurrection real for people.
As he gets to know the Lewistown and Mifflintown parishioners, Weary said he plans to introduce a new style of worship - charismatic.
"It's an enthusiastic spiritual movement that involves vibrant hymns, praising God out loud, healing services - even speaking in tongues and prophecy," Weary said.
To familiarize the church with the style, Weary said he and two parishioners recently attended a workshop in Harrisburg about charismatic revival.
Another thing Weary said he would like to introduce is Cursillo, an upbeat weekend retreat of worship, talks, discussion and prayer.
Remembering Cursillo weekends from his past, Weary said, "People come off on cloud nine. It's lots of fun, laughter, joking."
Through Cursillo and charismatic worship, Weary said he hopes parishioners will become more vibrant spiritually.
"I want to see more people involved and a more exuberant parish exalting their Lord and Savior," Weary said. "I would like to see Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior put front and center in both communities ... and to lift him higher."
During his ministry here, Weary said he hopes church attendance will grow.
Of the people who already attend, Weary said, "Both parishes have wonderful people, faithful and loyal. I look forward to partnering with them for the glory of God and the establishment of his kingdom in our hearts and minds."
During his first month in Lewistown, Weary said he has been unpacking, getting to know people, making home calls and learning webmaster skills.
Although Sacred Heart school has not been in session since his return, Weary said he has met several pupils at the churches and plans to attend the school faculty retreat later this summer.
He and the Rev. Jeffrey Thoms rotate celebrating Mass at the two parishes. Sunday Services include 7:30 and 11 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart in Lewistown and 9:15 a.m. Mass at St. Jude in Mifflintown. A Spanish Mass is held at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays at St. Jude. For more information about the churches, visit www.sacredheartlewistown.com.