Msgr. Joseph F. Hanley is leaving his lifelong parish, Blessed Sacrament in West Ashley.

Today marks his last Sunday holding regular Mass at the large parish. He already bid farewell to students of Blessed Sacrament School when the year ended for the summer.

Now 71, Hanley began attending Blessed Sacrament School when he was 5 years old. He later graduated from its middle school.

After becoming a priest, he eventually was assigned to his home parish where he has spent the past 18 years as pastor.

He said he is looking forward to time of spiritual renewal, but is also sad to leave his childhood home and its people.

Next, Hanley will take a three-month sabbatical before returning to the diocese and receiving a new assignment, most likely to a smaller parish.

During his sabbatical, he first will embark on a silent retreat to focus on his relationship with God.

Then, in September he will take his first trip to the Holy Land, where he will live in Jerusalem and spend a month in biblical study.

Hanley will return in October and spend time at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Church members and others hosted a farewell event for the longtime pastor Friday.