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Pope Francis' installation Mass

placeholder April 1, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Pope Francis reaches out to bless a child as he arrives in St. Peter's Square before his inaugural Mass at the Vatican March 19.
Paul Hanna/cns

Pope Francis' installation Mass

Rev. Mr. Brandon Macadaeg

I had the privilege of being one of the many deacons and priests asked to give Holy Communion to the faithful at Pope Francis' Installation Mass on March 19. The crowd was so vast that I was sent to give communion to the faithful two blocks away from St. Peter's Square. Serving as a Communion deacon did give me a great seat, but moreover it gave me the awesome privilege of fulfilling my simple ministry as a deacon at the Mass.

The beauty and grandeur of the priesthood resonated with me the most at the Installation Mass. It contrasted the negative reports I always seem to come across whenever I tuned into the secular news. While the world may distort and misunderstand the dignity of the priesthood, this Mass showed me something better! The priesthood is indicative of God's love and fidelity to the Church. In his kindness God raises up pastors in every time and place to minister to this great flock, thus reminding us of his closeness and tenderness toward us. So whenever a new pope is elected or a new bishop is appointed or a new pastor is assigned or a new priest is ordained, it is a moment of great victory for the Church. The whole Church, both in heaven and on earth, rejoices in it. Perhaps the joy that filled St. Peter's Square that day was the Church's triumphal recognition that God never leaves us abandoned!

Many of us today face a variety of difficulties and problems in life. Sometimes they seem impossible to overcome, but we must never be afraid or discouraged because God is with us and he always offers his love to us. His love is seen in the courageous ministry of our faithful bishops and priests. There may not be a lot of them, but they are God's gift to us!

Proper to the Pope's Installation is the imposition of the pallium, the wool cloth that he and the metropolitan archbishops around the world wear at Mass. Besides being a symbol of jurisdiction, it is also a symbol of the bishop as the good shepherd. It reminds him that he must always seek out the lost and weak sheep entrusted to his care and carry them and their burdens on his shoulders. In doing so, he lovingly brings them to Jesus Christ.

Every priest participates in this profound mission too. This is why I answered the Lord's call to priesthood: to seek out the lost sheep and bring them home to Jesus. My personal experience of the papal installation renewed my strength and courage in these final months before my ordination and to love with the heart of the real Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Love your pastors: our Holy Father Pope Francis, our bishops, and our priests. Support them in their ministry among us by your prayers because we are so blessed to have them!

(Rev. Mr. Brandon Macadaeg is a seminarian for the Diocese of Oakland who will be ordained a priest in May. He is a student at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.)

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