Pastoral Message – January 30, 2022
Last Sunday I was installed as the Pastor of Saints Simon & Jude Church. I’m happy to be your Pastor! Maybe I’m still basking in the glow. Basking or not, I am so grateful to God. And I am grateful to all the folks who had a part in making the day special.
After Mass, one lady came up to me and mentioned she thought the term “installation” for a Pastor was strange. I’d agree! Honestly, the term “Installed” might sound like I’m a kitchen appliance, a new lamp, or some part of the plumbing. And while it’s true that “ordained” sounds more churchy – ordained means being set apart or consecrated for God’s service – being “installed” has more to do with me embracing the specific responsibilities and obligations of leading a parish, being obedient to the Bishop of Orange and my adherence to our creedal faith and the magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
So I’d simply say that ordination has to do with “being” a priest. Installation emphasizes the “doing” of a priest in a specific parish. Now installation can’t happen without ordination. That’s an obvious truth since being precedes doing, but after that then being and doing happen together. But to my mind, as I attempt to be a Christian, being a priest is all about getting my God-given being right. So I follow Jesus who shows me how to be a human being. As a Christian human being I must be grounded in prayer. I must love God above all things and love my neighbor as much as I love myself. I must have knowledge and fear of the Lord. I must be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I must be always growing in wisdom and compassion, right judgement and mercy. I must be loving, grateful and accept grace. I must be ready to give witness to Jesus Christ and His Church. All of that is about getting the being right.
So now in our parish, while I attempt to be a Christian, I’ve also got to get the doing right. So I do all the priestly stuff –
- I celebrate Mass, praying with and for the people;
- I act in the Person of Christ, forgiving as the people make Confessions, anointing as the people are sick or dying;
- I preach the kerygma (essence) of the Good News;
- I teach on faith, morals, spirituality, relationship, grace and dealing with sin;
- I give counsel, consolation, encouragement and hope;
I administer the worldly dealings of the parish; I marry folks; I bury folks; I give out handouts and compliments; I write letters of recommendation and sign my name on checks and contracts and marriage licenses; I do meetings and phone calls; I talk to people, lots and lots of people – Catholic, non-Catholic, some people who are sober as a judge, some who are drunk as a skunk;
I do pray- usually the Divine Office once in the morning and in the afternoon- and my own prayers put me to sleep. I can’t sleep without God and mercy on my mind.
These are the things I do. This is how I attempt to be. And even though I don’t always get the doing right and from that my being can be tarnished and suffering ensues, God remains. God remains the source and summit of my faith, my hope, and my love.
I’m writing all this to y’all as a post installation communique. I hope to reflect to you, my brothers and sisters, the lightness of being we all possess and continue to yearn for in Christ Jesus. I will continue to spend my life in doing that which will bring the light of Christ to all y’all and the world. And I would ask that every now and then you might pray for me in my installed mission. And then together, we can exercise our common call to consecrate our lives, our being and our doing, to bringing about the Kingdom of God.
God bless y’all,