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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

090617 buchanan installedFather Paul Buchanan installed as 14th pastor of Greensboro’s historic parish

 

GREENSBORO — Smiles beamed on the faces of everyone gathered at Our Lady of Grace Church Sept. 2 when Bishop Peter Jugis installed Father Paul Buchanan as the Greensboro parish’s 14th pastor. Already loved by parishioners for his service as their parochial vicar over the past year, Father Buchanan’s installation Mass was particularly joyful for the parish community.

“With this change, I became the spiritual father of the church,” Father Buchanan said in a recent interview. “The bishop has given me the responsibility to care for souls and help all of us get to heaven, so the nature of my relationship to the parish has changed in a very significant way – in a deeper and more beautiful way.”

Father Buchanan succeeds Father Eric Kowalski, who has been named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Mocksville.

“When I first heard about it, it was very surprising. I’ve only been a priest for three years. My first assignment was at St. Matthew in Charlotte, the largest church in the country, and I learned a lot there,” he said. “Monsignor (John) McSweeney, as my first pastor, gave me more confidence in the administrative tasks involved in becoming a pastor. He showed me how to be a good pastor by being with the people and sharing in their concerns and troubles.”

Celebrated in the stunning Gothic Revival church in Greensboro’s historic Sunset Hills neighborhood, the installation Mass was well attended by parishioners, guests and participating clergy from across the Diocese of Charlotte – including Father Christian Cook, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace; Father John Eckert, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury; Father Benjamin Roberts, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Monroe; Father Lucas Rossi, parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Church; Father Paul McNulty, parochial vicar of St. Therese Church in Mooresville; and retired Father Robert Ferris. The parish's Deacon Mark Mejias and Deacon James Toner assisted at the Mass.

The parish's music minister, Andrew O’Connor, composed new music for the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 63) and dedicated it to Father Buchanan.

The pastor’s parents, Robert and Gloria Buchanan, served as gift bearers. “We’re so blessed and so happy he’s here at Our Lady of Grace. It’s a beautiful parish, and everyone’s so friendly and willing to do whatever they can to make him comfortable. Today was absolutely beautiful,” said Gloria Buchanan.

It’s plain to see what this warm welcome has meant to the Buchanans. “In my heart, I was hoping and praying he’d become a priest,” his mother said. “He’s our only child, and we gave him back to the Lord.”

Originally from Charlotte, where he was a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Father Buchanan was officially installed as pastor of the 65-year-old parish at the start of the Mass, when he made his Profession of Faith and signed the documents on the altar in the presence of Bishop Jugis and the congregation. He also took an Oath of Fidelity, which includes his promise to pass on the faith – “the pure and unadulterated Catholic faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ,” as Bishop Jugis said in his homily.

In his homily, Bishop Jugis explained that the role of the pastor includes the responsibilities of teaching, sanctifying and pastoral governance.

"He is responsible for the care of souls. His task is to prepare you for eternal life,” Bishop Jugis said.

Father Buchanan is jumping right into his teaching role at the parish and school, including serving as the seventh-grade religion teacher, with Father Christian Cook, the parochial vicar, and Principal Kathleen Miller teaching eighth- and sixth-grade religion, respectively.

“When I found out that Father Paul was going to be our religion teacher, I was ecstatic! All of my classmates were very excited because we’ve never had a priest for a religion teacher before, and we already knew he was a really cool priest,” said seventh-grader Lindsey Ramsey. “He has taught me more about my faith and about what it means to be Catholic.”

“Father Paul is a blessing to our church and school. He encourages our students to deepen their faith and commitment to the church at this crucial time in their – and our – lives,” says Katie Kilgariff, mother of three, including Hobbes Kilgariff, who was one of 16 altar servers at the installation Mass.

The role of sanctifying, as explained by the bishop, involves increasing the spiritual life of the parish by drawing people closer to Christ – especially through the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation.

“Everything that happens here draws its life, draws its meaning and its vitality from the altar – from Jesus Christ and His Real Presence,” Bishop Jugis said. “So you might look at the Eucharist as a bright, shining sun in the universe of the parish’s activities, and the rays of this sun emanating out from the altar – emanating out from the Eucharist – bringing the warmth and light of Jesus Christ and His Living Presence to all ministries of the parish.”

“Another way I want us to grow spiritually is to really foster and increase devotion to Our Lady,” Father Buchanan said. “It’s her parish, and to be able to increase our closeness to her will bring us all closer to Christ.”

— Annie Ferguson, correspondent

Clergy from across the Diocese of Charlotte attended the installation Mass (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Clergy from across the Diocese of Charlotte attended the installation Mass (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Buchanan incenses the Gospel before proclaiming the Gospel reading at his installation Mass Sept. 2 (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Buchanan incenses the Gospel before proclaiming the Gospel reading at his installation Mass Sept. 2 (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Buchanan takes the Oath of Fidelity during his installation as pastor (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Buchanan takes the Oath of Fidelity during his installation as pastor (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Paul Buchanan signs the official documents naming him pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Father Paul Buchanan signs the official documents naming him pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro was filled Sept. 2 to witness the installation of its 14th pastor (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro was filled Sept. 2 to witness the installation of its 14th pastor (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Parish music minister Andrew O'Connor composed new music for the Responsorial Psalm of the installation Mass (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Parish music minister Andrew O'Connor composed new music for the Responsorial Psalm of the installation Mass (Photos by Jarek Lucek)
Andrew O'Connor, parish music director, composed music for Psalm 63 for the installation Mass. Pictured with him are Bishop Peter Jugis and Father Paul Buchanan. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
Andrew O'Connor, parish music director, composed music for Psalm 63 for the installation Mass. Pictured with him are Bishop Peter Jugis and Father Paul Buchanan. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
Detail of the original music for Psalm 63 that Andrew O'Connor composed for Father Buchanan's installation Mass. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
Detail of the original music for Psalm 63 that Andrew O'Connor composed for Father Buchanan's installation Mass. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
Father Buchanan speaks with OLG's seventh-grade religion class. (Photo by Annie Ferguson)
Father Buchanan speaks with OLG's seventh-grade religion class. (Photo by Annie Ferguson)
Father Buchanan visits with OLG's seventh-grade religion class. (Photo by Annie Ferguson)
Father Buchanan visits with OLG's seventh-grade religion class. (Photo by Annie Ferguson)
Father Buchanan's parents, Robert and Gloria Buchanan, bring up the offertory gifts at his installation Mass. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
Father Buchanan's parents, Robert and Gloria Buchanan, bring up the offertory gifts at his installation Mass. (Photo by Barbara Markun)
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