November 20th – Holy Family Pastoral Installation

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November 20th – Holy Family Pastoral Installation


Hello dear friends,

On Saturday, November 20th, at the 4:30 PM Mass, Archbishop Listecki will publicly and officially install me, Fr. Enrique Hernández, as the pastor of Holy Family Parish.

I’d like to reflect a little on what this is about: to have an installation of a pastor means the Archbishop is placing me into a new position of authority with a ceremony. I believe the word originated from “in” and “stall” meaning that the person was literally put on a stall (seat) to show his new position. Ideally, this would happen on the first Sunday of my coming here, but since I was the Associate Pastor for one year and then I was the Administrator for another year and there were many moves of pastors in the Archdiocese this year, are some of the reasons why it is taking place until now.

There are a number of things to note about the Rite of Installation. First, it is presided over by our Archbishop. This reminds us how the Church works and reminds me of my promise of obedience to the Archbishop. A pastor is not appointed to a parish because the parishioners asked for him, or hired him, or anything like that. Nor is a pastor appointed to a parish because the new pastor decided that this was the parish he wanted to be at (even though, in my case, I wanted these parishes ) but ultimately it is the bishop of a diocese who decides. The Archbishop weighs the pastoral needs of a parish and prayerfully attempts to match them with a priest qualified to meet those needs. The bishop is assisted in this decision by the Priest and Lay Ecclesial Personnel and Placement board who advise and help identify the needs of parishes and the best fit of priests. The rite begins with a statement to this effect after the gospel.

Next, I’d expect Archbishop in his homily will likely reflect on who a pastor is, what he must strive to do, and what parishioners should do in return. After the homily, there come presentations of the pastor to the parish clergy, staff, pastoral council, finance council and trustees. Following this, the bishop will address me with these words which I include in full:

“Remember, my brother Enrique, always be a loving father, a gentle shepherd, and a wise teacher of your people, so that you may lead them to Christ who will strengthen all that you do.”

These words pretty much sum up the heart of what all this means to me. It is the three-fold duty of a priest and pastor to be (1) a “loving father” who leads a parish in prayer and Sacrament, (2) a “gentle shepherd” who directs and guides a parish, and (3) a “wise teacher” who strives to pass on the faith and the Church’s teachings. All of this is to lead us to Christ. After this point in the rite, the new pastor leads the people in the profession of faith and then makes an oath of fidelity.

So, I have much to ponder prayerfully here and a big duty to fulfill! I’d greatly appreciate your prayers that I may be a good pastor and truly lead all of us to Christ. In return, I will pray for you and strive to be the best pastor I can be.

Please come to the Mass of Installation.

Fr. Enrique

This article was originally published in the Holy Family bulletin on Sunday, October 17, 2021