Parish holds dual celebration

An installation of a new Pastor is a punctuation in the life of a Parish, and a recent one was made more memorable because it also coincided with the Parish Feast Day.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane installed Father Elbano Muñoz as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton on June 11, 2021, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The installation was within the context of the Mass, celebrated in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole, reflecting the different cultural members of the community.

A Pastor is someone who serves the faithful but at the same time leads them in a closer relationship to Christ, Bishop Dewane said. A Pastor needs the support of the faithful in order to succeed in his task, which is to call on people to be true disciples, evangelizers and messengers of their Faith.

“You are all witnesses of the Faith,” the Bishop continued. “Your presence here in support of your new Pastor shows that Father has the support he will need to succeed… Let this moment be a new chapter in the history of Sacred Heart Parish here in Bradenton.”

Father Muñoz expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane for having the confidence in him as the new Pastor. He thanked the faithful for their support and understanding since his arrival. Father also recognized his fellow priests, nine of whom concelebrated Mass with several having had connections to the Parish.

The history of the Parish dates to the post-Civil War era, when in 1868 Jesuit missionaries established a mission in Bradenton dedicated the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Eventually, when a new church, St. Joseph, was built nearby, Sacred Heart became a Chapel at its current location on 12th Avenue. It was not until 1968 when it was elevated to Parish status. The Parish Center and administration building were built in the following years while the Parish Church received several upgrades to include new stained glass and a renovation of the sanctuary. A Grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe was added in 2004. There are approximately 800 families with Mass celebrated in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

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 concluded 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.

A celebratory reception was held in the Parish Hall with dinner and several cakes honoring both Father Muñoz and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.