I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish. I am grateful for all the pastors that I’ve had since my youth and since I was ordained a priest that have shown me what it means to be a pastor as Jesus the Good Shepherd has called us to be. We are formed through the method that Jesus used to form his disciples. It is through witness, example, and the sharing of life together – a life of faith expressed in deeds, not merely abstract teaching or a “how to” manual perfected over years of experience. Jesus said to his disciples, “Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” I’ve had the privilege to follow and to live with some exemplary pastors who cared for me as a brother priest and taught be through that care to be sensitive to the needs of others – that relationship is more important than implementing a program or simply getting a job done. My first pastor, after my ordination in 2003 at my first assignment at St. Agnes in West Chester, was Msgr. Edward Deliman. He and I arrived at St. Agnes at the same time. We were both in a new situation with new and unexpected challenges. I learned a lot from Msgr. Deliman’s humble and gentle way and his love for the priesthood and the people entrusted to his care. I can remember several “St. Peter” moments like the one we hear in today’s Gospel. As a priest fresh out of the seminary, I thought I had the right answers to certain things and at times didn’t understand what was being proposed by the pastor. We get in trouble when we think we know better than the one we are supposed to be following and begin to tell him what should be done. There were several times that Monsignor called me into his office to give me a needed “rebuke”. It is not enough, as Peter discovered, to have the right answer, but one has to follow the master. Going where you don’t want to go or following a path that is given but doesn’t make sense is a denial of self and an embrace of the cross that forms us into disciples of Jesus. The cross humbles us but also opens us to God’s grace – the saving grace that only comes when we let go of our own ideas and plans. It is part of the Lord’s plan that I am following Bishop Deliman as the pastor of St. Charles. I am honored that he is installing me as the pastor today. Please pray for me that I may be a pastor after the heart of the Good Shepherd and will follow the Master wherever he leads.
Sincerely in Christ,