Last Sunday’s Installation Mass, during which Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio officially turned over the canonical possession of the
parish to me as your 16th pastor, was an experience I will never forget. It was an uplifting celebration of faith and community that
infused joy and energy into the hearts of all participants.
I was edified, and a bit overwhelmed, by the outpouring of love, welcome and acceptance, as well as by the enthusiastic
promises of support from our parish staff and leaders, priests and lay faithful alike. These were signs of the Lord’s special blessings
upon me and my new ministry among you. As I indicated in my remarks at the Installation Mass, I was appointed to be your
pastor, but I came as a servant. As such, I see myself as not only a leader, but a spiritual father, brother and friend to my people. In
the days ahead, as I live, pray and work among you, I hope to receive your loving support and collaboration in order to fulfill the
tasks that Holy Mother Church has entrusted to me.
A pastor of a parish has three primary roles: teaching the faith, sanctifying the faithful and governing the parish. My model for
this ministry is Our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who is merciful, compassionate and patient to all his sheep. As we are a
Eucharistic people, the most important work of the parish is the worship of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Hence, the most
important thing that happens in our parish is right at the Altar, where the Lord himself comes to us so that we may encounter Him,
listen to Him and receive from Him the life that will in turn flow out to all other parish ministries, apostolates and activities. The
Sunday Mass, therefore, will be at the center of all that we are and do in our parish.
While I have been a priest for twenty years, and have had a variety of very unique experiences in the Church, both local and
universal, I have only now realized how fulfilling it is, through God’s grace, to assume the awesome responsibility of the full care of
souls with which a pastor is charged. As Bishop DiMarzio made it clear, you–the people of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, are my
mission. You are the reasons why I am sent here. In this sentiment, I invite you to join me in working to become the best image of
the Church that God wishes us to be, that of a united family: fervent, dedicated, zealous and loyal. With a view towards achieving
this goal, I pledge to listen to you, to respect your history, to understand you, and to respond to your needs with patience and
compassion. I also ask that you pray for me, and for the priests of our parish, especially Father Hung Tran–our newly ordained
Parochial Vicar, so that we may reflect clearly the face of Him whom we represent and serve.
I thank the Priests of our parish, the Parish Staff, the Parish Council and the Finance Council, our Trustees, Leaders of Ministries,
Maintenance Staff and Parish Volunteers who have embraced me and Father Hung Tran with eager hearts. I am grateful to those
who have worked hard to prepare our Church spaces and plan the Liturgy, especially the members of the Hispanic and Vietnamese
communities who made the Installation Mass even more special for all. Finally, I wish to acknowledge, with appreciation, all
parishioners who made the effort to attend the Mass in their beautiful traditional garbs. Now that I have officially been installed as
pastor, let us walk together and make this journey an exciting adventure for all.
May our Blessed Mother, whose Patronal Feast we will celebrate this coming Friday at a special Noon Mass presided over by
Bishop Ray Chappetto, bless us and protect our spiritual family always!