By Katie Engesser
With thunderous applause, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn James Massa is appointed as pastor to Holy Family-St Thomas Aquinas parish in Park Slope.
“This is a day of great joy and fulfilment for me,” Bishop Massa said.
Since his priestly ordination over 30 years ago, he has served as a professor and chaplain at many Catholic universities and seminaries in New York and Boston. But there is one ministry Bishop Massa had not undertaken.
“He never was actually a pastor in his whole priesthood,” Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio explained, “he was always teaching and doing administrative work so he wanted this opportunity to be a pastor.”
“That’s the reason why we’re ordained, really to serve the people of God as his shepherd.” Bishop Massa said.
As part of his work as an auxiliary bishop, he often represents Bishop DiMarzio at parish events and functions. Experience he hopes to use in his new parish.
“I learn a lot from visiting the very varied parishes we have in the diocese of Brooklyn,” the auxiliary bishop said.
Here at Holy Family-St Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Massa’s biggest hope is to unite the parish’s two main groups: English and Spanish speakers. Bishop DiMarzio, celebrating the bilingual installation mass, offered his brother bishop some pastorly advice.
“Take things slow to get adjusted to understand the people, understand the needs so that he can find the right solution to the problems that face this parish here,” Bishop DiMarzio said.
Many parishioners are excited about their new pastor.
Emilio Lugo said, “Bishop Massa is a very wonderful person.”
Alba Amador said “He seems to be such a humble man. Very nice and he always goes out of his way to say hello and call you by your name.”
“I think he’s a very loving person,” said Doris Derose, “Everything that comes through him comes through his heart.”
As mass ends, Bishop Massa already begins caring for his flock by saying a quick prayer for an alter server who got sick during the mass. The youngster apparently had an allergic reaction to the many roses in the church. At last word, she was okay.