Tuesday, August 31, 2010

“Some Of These I Will Take As Priests”

Here I share with APL readers my remarks upon the occasion of my installation by His Excellency, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Benedict, Md., on August 22, 2010.
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"Thus says the LORD: ... 'I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.' "

Thank you, Your Excellency, for your presence among us today and for personally installing me as the pastor of this wonderful parish community of faith of St. Francis de Sales Church. I am grateful for the gift and privilege of collaborating with you in your role as shepherd of our Church of Washington. It is a grace in which I pray I will continue to grow with the help of your prayers
and the prayers of the holy People of God. I appreciate your kindness in delivering the homily for our Mass today. As there has already been one very good homily, please be assured that my remarks will not be similar in length.

My thanks must go above all to Almighty God, from whom all blessings come. In this beautiful gift of a share in the pastoral care of God’s people I see and experience the goodness of God and His infinite and merciful love. This comes through the holy Church, the Body of Christ, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit of divine Love.

My faith and trust in God have been renewed and strengthened in these days in which I receive as a gift what no one could hope to deserve. It is only in humility that God can use us in the service of the good and the salvation of His people. Acknowledging every good thing as a gift of God will help me, and all those who work together for the salvation of souls in this parish family, to remain humble and therefore useful for God’s holy will in imitation of Christ who served the rest by His death on the cross.

To the people of this parish community of St. Francis de Sales: You have all welcomed me among you with gentleness and kindness. Please know of my sincere gratitude for your goodness which speaks profoundly of the presence of the Lord. I look forward to growing with you in the spirit of reverence and love of God in our sacred worship together, especially on the Lord’s Day each week.

I thank my brother and sisters and nieces and nephews who have joined us today. I am one of six siblings and, for that reason if no other, family is very important. Thank you for showing your love and support by the gift of your presence. My parents, Richard and Mary, are not with us today because they are attending another family event in Michigan, but they are very much with us in spirit. They have already visited the parish when in July they made a voyage on their sailboat, The Irish Blessing, from Baltimore and made a port call here in Benedict on my second weekend here. They attended Mass and said hello to many of our parishioners after the weekend Masses. They have certainly bestowed their parental “benediction” and they look forward to visiting us again.

I wish to also acknowledge the presence of my brother priests, Fathers Roberto Cortes and Ted Hegnauer. Thank you for your fraternity, a gift to my own priesthood. My friend, Fr. Hegnauer, also represents the pastor and people of my home parish of St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel. Father, thanks for your kindness in coming today.

To all of you, friends old and new, God’s beloved faithful people, thank you for being present to celebrate this holy Mass of installation, for your prayers and your best wishes. God bless
you.

-- ((((..))))

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