Auxiliary Bishop James Massa was installed as the new pastor of Holy Family-St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Park Slope, by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Dec. 9.
The 132-year-old church had a standing-room-only congregation as they welcomed their new pastor at the 11:30 a.m. Mass, celebrated in English and Spanish.
Bishop DiMarzio conducted the installation ceremony and then presented Bishop Massa to be personally received by parish leaders, who congratulated him with hugs and handshakes.
Following the final blessing, a mariachi band played as Bishop Massa shook hands and posed for pictures with his flock.
Bishop Massa, who also serves as vicar for higher education and vicar for evangelization, was appointed pastor of Holy Family-St. Thomas Aquinas in June.
He succeeds Father Jesus A. Cuadros, who will remain in residence at the parish as pastor emeritus. He has been helping with the new pastor’s transition.
“I thank Father Jesus Cuadros, who for 18 years, served this parish and gave them everything he had. He will be missed and I will do my best to follow him,” Bishop Massa said.
Bishop DiMarzio preached the homily at the Mass, which fell on the second Sunday of Advent.
In his homily, the bishop cautioned, “Driving the streets of the city, you must be aware to avoid the pot holes.” He used that advice to lead into the day’s Scriptures.
“Today in the Gospel, we hear of the mission of St. John the Baptist and his mission was to make the road straight in preparation. Advent is a time when we realize there is work to do, we must prepare.
Prepare the Way
“The work of a pastor is exactly that to make his people ready for the Lord just the way St. John the Baptist did. Today, we recognize the new pastor of this parish, Bishop James Massa, and thank Father Jesus Cuadros for all of his work.”
Reflecting on the warm welcome he has received in his new home, Bishop Massa expressed gratitude to God and the faithful.
“I want to thank all of the people that made this beautiful Mass possible and all those that have come out to welcome me,” the new pastor said.
“Today I join their family and will open my arms with love. I ask God to bless all these people for they have already shown love and generosity. I have such joy to be with all these people today and to serve them.”