Everybody Loves Ragan

When WBIR profiled my friend Fr. Ragan Schriver a few years ago, they pointed out that he had three jobs. He was both a parish priest and executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. In his spare time, he taught social work classes at the University of Tennessee. Yesterday he announced that he is switching things. He’s taking a sabbatical from his jobs at Catholic Charities and St. Albert the Great and will teach at UT.

Here’s the letter I received today:

Dear Council Member
Greetings to you on this nice day. I wanted to inform you of a change for the coming year at our agency, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. I will be taking a sabbatical beginning July 1, 2013 for one year. While I’m out, Bishop Stika has asked Sister Mary Christine Cremins, RSM to take on the role of acting executive director.
I have been fortunate enough to have been offered a wonderful opportunity to provide service to the community and evangelization in a unique way. I will be serving in a position of professor at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. I will also be working on a small project with Catholic Charities USA for the next year. Due to the decreased demands on my time, this sabbatical will allow me to spend increased time in prayer and reflection. This opportunity comes at a time in my life when I greatly needed a break from the stress I have been experiencing in my current roles.
I have been serving as Director here for the past fourteen years. I have loved every minute of it (well, most minutes) but this is an important time for me to take time out to recharge so I can be of better service in the future.
Sister Christine has worked for CCETN in the counseling department since her arrival in East Tennessee nearly three years ago. She has her Master’s degree in Social Work and has had many years of service to the poor and vulnerable. She will be a great asset to the agency during this time. Please join me in welcoming her in this role in any way you can.
Thank you for all you do for so many. In you and your support, the mission of the agency continues. The administrative team will be solid and supportive of you and Sister during this time.
God bless you all,
Fr. Ragan Schriver

Throughout the day, Fr. Ragan has been receiving messages of support from friends and from his staff. Although he won’t be assigned to a parish, he’ll continue to be a priest and will continue to express his passion for social work through teaching. I’m glad he’ll get a bit of a break from the long hours he works. I hope he’ll be able to spend a little extra time with his dad, who is making a good recovery from an injury after a fall last year.

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