Monday, June 14, 2004

How many bishops does it take... screw in a light bulb? I don't know the answer to that question and, to tell the truth, I am afraid to find out. But I do know it only takes one to install a pastor. Though I have been pastor for just over a month, the ritual installation took place this weekend as the bishop stopped in to assist with Masses before continuing his drive to the bishops' meeting near Denver. My family and a grade school/high school classmate came up from Oklahoma City for the installation. It was a simple ceremony, punctuated by the bishop's presentation of me to the parish, my leading of the flock in professing the Creed, and my signing of the profession of faith before the archbishop and the parish.

Afterwards, several parishioners, life-long Catholics, remarked to me, "I don't think I have ever seen such a ceremony before." With glee, I replied in each instance, "You probably haven't. It was the first time for me to see it too! It is a ceremony our bishop almost never does, but it exists and so I requested that during his already-scheduled visit to the parish, he make use of that ceremony. And he agreed." Especially in a time when dissent or simply vague profession of faith seems in vogue, I think the ceremony of installation is crucial because it is centered on the public profession of the Faith. In addition to the Creed normally recited at Mass, the pastor (or other cleric given an office to be exercised in the name of the Church) must add the following profession. I will type it here because I think upon reading it you will see how important it is that (1) each priest be required to publicly state it; and, (2) that our people, whose own profession of faith may need to be encouraged, hear their pastor make such a statement. It could lead to a wake-up call for each parishioner. At the end of the Creed the pastor adds:

With firm faith I also believe everything contained in God's Word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the Church, whether in solemn judgment or in ordinary and universal magisterium, as divinely revealed and calling for faith.
I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by the Church definitively regarding teaching on faith and morals.
Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.

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