St. Patrick Catholic Church
Installation Homily

Installation of the 17th Pastor
of St. Patrick's Parish

Saint Patrick's Church - Washington, D.C.

Rev. Msgr. Salvatore A. Criscuolo
June 13, 2005

The following homily was delivered by Msgr. Salvatore Criscuolo following his installation by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick as 17th Pastor of St. Patrick's Parish on June 13, 2005.

In today's First Reading, the Lord speaks to Moses and offers a beautiful description of how He sees and cares for the people. The Lord lifts them up on eagle's wings. God does this, not to be dramatic or merely to demonstrate power. God does this because these Israelites are important in His eyes.

The image speaks to our heart and describes our own value in God's eye. Special possessions are unlike anything else we have or possess.

A treasured possession is something you wouldn't part with under any circumstance. We all have possessions, and we like them all, but sooner or later we get rid of some of them and sometimes most of them, but there are those special possessions, we will never part with. They don't necessarily have to be valuable, in our eyes they are and that is all that matters.

We are God's special possessions, all of us. No matter who we are, or what we do, in the eyes of God, we are the special possessions He talked about in the first reading today.

I have had many important days in my life and I want all of you to know that this day, as I am installed as the 17th pastor of Saint Patrick's, this is one of the proudest days of my priesthood.

Twenty-seven years ago when I was ordained, I didn't have any idea where the journey would lead. I learned early on to hold on tight to the Lord and enjoy the ride. He has taken me to so many places. Starting in Takoma Park, going to Southeast D.C., being named Chaplain to Law Enforcement and our Fire Firefighters and then coming to Saint Patrick's three and a half years ago, to live in residence and continue to serve our first responders.

Last August, my cell phone rang and Cardinal McCarrick was on the other end. He asked how I was doing and thanked me for my work with the fire department and police. Then the cardinal said he needed a favor. I said, "Did you get a ticket?" He assured me he didn't and asked me to become the Pastor of Saint Patrick's.

The Cardinal still wanted me to serve as Chaplain as well as become Pastor.

Our Gospel today from Matthew talks of the harvest being abundant and the labors are few.

I told Cardinal McCarrick I would give it my best and he assured me he would keep me in his prayers.

I am so pleased to be here today as your Pastor and still serving as Chaplain. There have been some times where juggling the two was not easy, but the Lord has gotten me through and will continue to do so.

All of you have also been extremely supportive these past 8 months.

You were there during Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, Saint Patrick's Day and the Blue Mass. You have shown me the true meaning of Church by being living examples of giving and caring, and guiding. You have been patient with me, when my patience was wearing a little thin.

You have been here to make suggestions, when I was out.

You have been here day after day, week after week, with your smile, your kind words, your gift of faith to me.

All of us need to realize the harvest is growing greater and the laborers are not keeping up with the growth. Continue to pray for those called by God to serve, and that many more will answer the call to become laborers.

Today with my parents, my aunt and uncle and sister and husband and friends who have been such a special part of my life I give thanks to God for all of them and for all of you, the people I am privileged to serve here at Saint Patrick's.

Please pray for me everyday and for my brother priests.

In joyful response to the goodness of God's choosing, our lives are meant to be living examples of God's story. We are sent out with the disciples of every time and place and called to reveal the value of all people as God's special possessions.

God bless.