Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Arrival...

Greetings from the northern countryside of Maine! (And yes, before you even bother to ask, there is Internet here and no, it's not dial up...)

I'm Father Kyle Doustou...a brand-new, 26 year-old baby priest for the Diocese of Portland in Maine. You might not find it surprising that yet another priest has decided to enter into the blogosphere, but from my end it's a shocker. I've never been the blogging type...never really felt compelled to share much with the Interwebs. But now, things have changed...

This past June, only a couple weeks after I had been ordained a priest, my bishop gave me my first priestly assignment. "Kyle," he said, "I'm assigning you to Caribou." The look on my face must have priceless. Quite frankly, I was completely and utterly stunned. (If you don't know where Caribou is, just think north...very north.) After having spent the last seven years of my life in the seminary in Washington, D.C., I have to be honest: the thought of going to northern Maine scared the living day-lights out of me. If you've never been to Maine, it's really very big...deceptively big. Just for the sake of perspective, New York City is about as far away from my hometown in southern Maine as Caribou is...about 300 miles. But there's more...

Several years ago in our diocese we began the gigantic task of "clustering" our parishes. This was not your stereotypical clustering process where two churches in the same town simply came together to share a priest...we completely reconfigured the entire diocese. Most of the parishes were suppressed and then merged with others to form brand new parishes. Some are on the smaller side, consisting of two or three churches...others are large, consisting of five or even six churches. And then there's Caribou. The Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou is not merely's enormous. The City of Caribou just happens to be the epicenter of the parish, not the totality. This parish has ten churches and its boundaries extend 863.24 square miles (that's just a little smaller than the State of Rhode Island.)

Despite my fears and concerns, I was glad to accept my assignment and during the first week of July I loaded up my car and headed north. And to my amazement, life has been wonderful ever since. I may be far from my friends and family...there may not be much for a "city boy" to do around here...there may even be an ungodly amount of cold and snow for 6 months out of the year...but the people here are wonderful. In the short time I have been here, I have been to any number of their houses for dinner...I have laughed with them and cried with them...I have offered Mass for them and absolved them of their sins...I have anointed them and buried their dead. Together, priest and people, with God's grace, we'll grow in holiness. And that...that's worth writing about.

And so here I am...the Curate of Caribou...and I have a story to share.

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