Last Sunday Bishop Loverde installed me in the office of pastor of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. A number of folks told me that it was the first time they had ever seen this rite, which is not surprising since it happens once every dozen years or so and is only at one Mass.
One of the points that the Bishop made echoed words of St. John Vianney that I learned on pilgrimage to the saint’s parish in Ars, France: “The priesthood is the love of the Sacred Heart.” That quote has often resonated through my prayers and contemplation of what it means to be a pastor. It means to let Jesus love you through me. Sometimes, we human instruments get in the way—forgive us. But frequently we see miracles of grace when we love generously. Pray for your priests, that we may become more fully what we are.
Additionally, Bishop Loverde exhorted me to pray for you. The other spiritual fruit of my pilgrimage to Ars was the conviction that God wants me to pray even more for you. One of my habits, when asked for prayers, is to immediately pray a Hail Mary for your intention and ask our Lady to remind me to pray for you. On this pilgrimage, Our Lady seemed to say, “Give me more time to remind you of who to pray for.”
Thanks for your warm and generous welcome. May the Lord bring to completion the good work he has begun in us.
Pax et Bonum,