Before stepping aside on Nov. 9 for incoming Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne, retiring Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz took care of some unfinished business by installing three pastors at major parishes in the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage.
He installed Dominican Father Steve Maekawa at Holy Family Cathedral, Vincentian Father Andy Bellisario at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral and Father Joseph McGilloway at Sacred Heart Church in Wasilla.
Each of the priests had been serving in their respective parishes for several months but the ceremonial installations publicly affirmed the official appointments.
Father McGilloway was installed at Sacred Heart Nov. 3. Two days later, Father Maekawa was installed at Holy Family Cathedral, and the next night Father Andy Bellisario was installed at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral.
During each of the installation Masses the priest stood before the entire church, faced the archbishop and accepted a symbolic gold-colored key to the church.
Upon presenting the key, Archbishop Schwietz charged the priests to “receive the key to the church. Protect it, as it is the key to Holy Ground. You are entrusted with the history of this place and now become part of our sacred story in the salvation history of our people. Be welcoming of God’s people and vigilant that the Sacred Mysteries are celebrated with care so that they reveal God’s holy presence: holy things for holy people.”
The archbishop then called each priest to “always be a loving father, a gentle shepherd, and a wise teacher of your people, so that you may lead them to Christ who will strengthen all that you do.”
Each priest then turned and, as a teacher of the faith, led their flock in the profession of their faith.
At the conclusion of the profession of faith, the priest faced the archbishop to recite a solemn oath, which stated in part: “With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in God’s Word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the church, whether in solemn judgment or in ordinary and universal magisterium, as divinely revealed and calling for faith. I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by the church definitively regarding teaching on faith and morals.”