Lakewood Ranch Pastor installed

An installation of a new Pastor is a punctuation in the life of a Parish.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane installed Father Sebastian Szczawinski as Pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch on Feb. 19, 2023, in the context of the Mass.

“You have all come to know him as an Administrator,” Bishop Dewane said. “I ask that you support Father moving forward as God will give him the grace to take on the responsibility of leading this rapidly growing Parish.”

The Pastor is someone who serves the faithful while at the same time leading them into a closer relationship with Christ, the Bishop said. The leadership and guidance the Pastor provides will allow the faithful of Our Lady of the Angels to walk out of Mass each Sunday knowing they have heard from Jesus Christ in that Gospel message, and also how they are going to live that message in their own lives.”

Our Lady of the Angels Parish was first established in 1999 as a Mission Church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Sarasota and was initially led by Third Order Regular Franciscan priests. The original church was dedicated in 2003, while the current Parish Church was dedicated by Bishop Dewane in 2018. The area surrounding the Parish is rapidly growing and the number of registered families is now more than 3,100, necessitating six Masses each weekend. Because of the growth, the original church was converted into a Parish Hall, and there is an ongoing campaign for a new Parish Activities Center for religious education and other activities.

As part of the installation process, Bishop Dewane first introduces the priest as Pastor to the parishioners. The priest later recites a profession of faith for all to hear, including an additional part solely for him. The new Pastor then recites an Oath of Fidelity and promises to “adhere to the teachings, which either the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise authentic magisterium.” The installation also includes prayers to provide the new pastor the wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to lead the Parish.

The ceremony concludes with the signing of documents by the Bishop, the new Pastor, and two official witnesses of the Parish Community, who serve as witnesses for all of the parishioners.

At the conclusion of Mass, Father Szczawinski thanked the faithful of Our Lady of the Angels for being so supportive as he considers them all part of his extended family. A reception was held in the Parish Hall.