Con te partiro` – A recording of a song by this name has become Andrea Bocelli’s signature song.
It became a best-selling single around the world in many countries. It translates literally as ‘With you I shall leave’. It was popularised under the title ‘Time to say goodbye’ but it doesn’t really capture what the song is trying to say.
The original sentiment tries to capture the idea of leaving places and people but taking them with you.
It is the nature of ordained ministry that ministers come and go – sometimes frequently and sometimes not frequently enough, but congregations remain.
Ministers are a bit like a current running through an ocean – each influencing the other, but one moves on and the other stays where it is.
For me, it is a bit different this time. I’m not moving on to some other Placement but transitioning into retirement, which means that leaving feels very different – I don’t have another community to anticipate or hold on to while letting you go. In this regard, I’m not quite sure how I am going to manage my year in exile. I’m sure I will work it out. However, as the ‘Cutting of Ties’ service so thoughtfully articulates, St Kilda Parish Mission must let me go, so that it can embrace and welcome the next person. There are challenges in this because people become friends, not necessarily through pastoral or spiritual conversations, but because they share an interest in sport or music or books, and actually just enjoy each other’s company. It’s often regarded by the ‘profession’ as an occupational hazard but in reality, it’s an occupational blessing.
So friends, Con te partiro` – With you I shall leave.