The following is a letter I wrote for next week's parish bulletin
Last Sunday was the very first time I ever attended an installation ceremony. To the best of my knowledge, the practice of installing pastors in Catholic Churches became widespread sometime between 1977 and 1995, during the time that I was working in Japan. Over there we had no ceremonies for new pastors. The only things that I was familiar with that needed installation, were major household appliances, like a washer or dryer or air conditioner. So I have to admit, that up until very recently, my mental image of an installation ceremony always included the image of the bishop or his representative holding a wrench as he somehow affixed the new pastor someplace on the inside wall of the sanctuary, somewhere between the altar and the ambo. Admittedly, very silly image!
|Receiving keys of the church|
from Msgr. Dorney
I found the ceremony to be very meaningful. I was so glad that Msgr. Dorney acted as the Archbishop’s representative in the ceremony. I did not know until a few days before the ceremony, that Msgr. Dorney would begin the Mass as the presider, and that I would take his place as presider of the liturgy after the rite of installation took place. Many of you know Msgr. Dorney. He is a fine pastor and a wonderful man. In the short time I have been here, I have been with him many times at various meetings and celebrations, both Catholic and interfaith. As I mentioned at the end of Mass, he has been extremely helpful in a number of instances where, as someone new to the Archdiocese, I needed advice.
Not only was this the first time I ever attended an installation ceremony; it was also the very first time I presided at a bilingual Mass and the first time I preached a bilingual homily. The homily was longer than I wanted it to be. You can be sure that in the future, such homilies will be shorter. Aside from that, the liturgy went very smoothly. My thanks to Father Jim Cassidy and to Father Luis Vera for planning the liturgy, and to the choir, the altar servers and all the liturgical ministers who took part. Also a very big thanks to Laura, Katie, Allen, Vilma, Father Jorge and Nelly, plus the rest of the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to prepare for both the Mass and the reception afterwards.
I also want to thank all of you who participated in the Mass, and for all of your kindnesses extended to my family. My mother, Kathleen, very much enjoyed the four days she spent here at OLGC.
Life is full of new beginnings even though many things stay the same. The installation of a new pastor is a new beginning not only for the pastor himself, but is in a sense a new beginning for the whole parish community. Father Jim and I both arrived at the end of the summer, and Father Jorge Luis has been here for over two years, now. Father Jim, as you know, was assigned to this parish a number of years ago. But both of us are still in the process of getting to know the parish. While giving thanks for all that has gone before, gradually a clearer vision of what we need to do to follow Christ more closely will emerge. As I said at the end of Mass last Sunday, we all need to roll up our sleeves and get to the work we have ahead of us. Relying upon the strength that comes from God, let us support each other in that task.