The Catholic Church relies on its Parish Pastors to lead and to be a guide in the spiritual and everyday life of any Parish. These priests are called to serve in persona Christi bringing the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar of the Lord.
From time to time a Parish requires a new Pastor and on this occasion the Bishop will appoint – after consultation with the Priest Personnel Board – and install this new leader marking a new chapter in the life for the faithful.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane installed Father David Vidal as Pastor of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria on Oct. 9, 2021, and Father Ricky Varner as Pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral on Oct. 10, 2021.
“A Pastor is called to minster to the spiritual well-being of the faithful and build up the spirituality of a Parish community,” Bishop Dewane said.
The Bishop asked that the faithful listen to their new Pastor and prayerfully accept decisions that are made, “knowing that the Pastor does strive to do what he clearly feels is in the best interest of the entire Parish community.”
As part of the installation process, Bishop Dewane first introduces the priest as Pastor to the parishioners. The priest later begins the 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. Those documents are split between the Parish and Diocese as well as the Pastor’s personnel records.
At the conclusion of the installation Masses, both Father Vidal and Father Varner thanked the faithful at their respective Parishes for being so welcoming and supportive since their arrival as they strive to serve the Lord by administering the Sacraments and helping to bring all close to the Lord.
Father Vidal added, in Spanish, a special thanks to his parents who were watching the Mass via a livestream from Argentina.