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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

072117 colemanSYLVA — Two joyous occasions, the installation of a new pastor and confirmation of 21 young people, brought together Bishop Peter J. Jugis, several priests and many parishioners July 11 at St. Mary, Mother of God Church.

Bishop Jugis presided over the installation of Father Casey Coleman as pastor of the Sylva parish, and administered the sacrament of confirmation to what is the parish’s largest-ever group of confirmandi.

Father Coleman, who was ordained in 2015, most recently served as parochial vicar at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte. This is his first assignment as pastor, and he succeeds Father Joshua Voitus, who has been named pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church.

“We gather this evening for the joyful celebration of confirmation for the young people of our parish, and we are also gathering this day for the joyful celebration of welcoming your new pastor, Father Casey Coleman,” Bishop Jugis told the congregation.

During the installation rite at the start of Mass, Bishop Jugis described the duties and responsibilities of a pastor – primarily teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful under the authority of the bishop. The official letter of appointment was read aloud by Deacon William Shaw.

“There is a lot in that letter of appointment,” Bishop Jugis noted. “It is a lot to do, but he is not going to do it by himself, because he has all of you to assist him in all of his various duties of shepherding St. Mary, Mother of God Parish.”

072117 Coleman installationFather Coleman was then invited to the altar to make his profession of faith and the oath of fidelity. The official appointment documents were then signed by the bishop and Father Coleman in the presence of the congregation, and witnessed by Dr. David Ramsey.

During his homily, the bishop welcomed everyone who had come to St. Mary, Mother of God Church for the occasion. Former pastor Father Voitus, newly ordained Father Christian Cook, Holy Redeemer Church’s administrator Father George David Byers, and Dominican Father W. Becket Soule were among the clergy present. The bishop then encouraged the youth who would receive the sacrament of confirmation, emphasizing the importance of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“The Lord loves us so much that He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit that we might continue the work He did of bringing the Gospel message, and Gospel life and love, with us – through the power of the Holy Spirit that we received through confirmation – to all the world,” he said.

At the end of the Mass, Father Coleman thanked everyone and asked for their support and prayers.

“Through your prayers I will do all I can to love you all,” he said. “You are my family now and I look forward to spending as many years as His Excellency allows me to stay here to be your pastor, to love you, and to lead you closer to Christ.”

— Della Sue Bryson, Correspondent