Monday, December 14, 2009


So last Tuesday the parish of Saint Sebastian celebrated the installation of their 5th pastor in the 81 year history of the parish. Bear in mind that I had been at St. Sebastian for a year and a half already and so I thought it would be somewhat unseemly to make too big a brouhaha about it. Celebrate we would but it would be a simple celebration. In fact I confided to Bishop Pevec who was kind enough to make the time to come out to be the celebrant that it seemed a bit like living with a woman for a couple of years and then having a big wedding complete with white dress and tuxes. He asked me to keep this comment to myself and leaned over to Fr. Pfeiffer and suggested that he try to keep me from saying anything stupid.

The odd part was that I had never been to an installation Mass before and did not know what to expect. All the places I have been the pastor had been there forever. This was my first installation Mass.

There was of course a dinner before hand with the bishop and some priests who made the effort to be there. I was not expecting any priests to be able to make since it was the time of vigil Masses of the Holy Day so I did not make it a point to make a fuss over guys coming but they did none-the-less. Classmates, one of our pastors emeritus, and my cousin who is a priest were able to join the clergy of St. Sebastian for a celebratory meal prepared in concert with our own cook and a friend who is a cook of a neighboring parish.

When we went over the Church there was a sparse but loyal gathering of parishioners. I was happy with the turn out. It was, after all, an early Mass, it was Monday, and a Holy Day of Obligation – what could we really expect? But by the time we started down the aisle the church was packed. All of the scouts were there in their uniforms, the Knights of Columbus in all of their glory, our fabulous choir, family, friends, and the great people of Saint Sebastian. As it turned out the celebration was quite grand all the more touching because it was not expected.

Of course the day was primarily in honor of Mary the Immaculate Conception who under this title is patroness of the United States. How fitting for this next stage in the history of this great parish. Monsignor Zwisler, the founding pastor of the parish, had a great devotion to Mary the traces of which can be seen in the architecture of the building. Much of the interior is blue, the color most associated with Mary. The grand windows in the clerestory represent the Litany of Loreto. The angels over the door form the letter “M” with their wings in honor of her. And so we begin this six hear term on her day and asking for her prayers as we go about the duties of being a Christian community.

It is wonderful to be part of a parish that is so supportive of its clergy. I know how truly lucky I am to be here.


Carol said...

:-) and they know how lucky they are, too.

Adoro said...

Congratulations, Fr. V., so wish I could have been there! Your parish is very blessed to have you!

Elena LaVictoire said...

To put the crowd in perspective- it was like a Christmas Eve or Easter mass. My sons sang with the choir and of course were running late. I had to let them out of the van in the park across the street so that they could sprint to the church - the traffic there was that busy. The lots were full and cars were parked on both sides of the street. I'm sure the neighbor folks were wondering what was going on at St. Sebastian's that night!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Father! It was truly a special Mass and we are so blessed to have you as our pastor,