Saturday's special Mass at St, Ann's Church marking the installation of the Rev. John Kiley as its new pastor marks the final step in completing a transition that really began last spring, with the jubilation celebration for then-pastor Ronald Gariboldi and the confirmation that he was retiring.
In that sense, the installation of Father Kiley — and the welcoming of Father Matthew Green as Holy Family's associated pastor — truly marks a changing of the guard and the beginning of a new era.
But it's clear that the new era is more than symbolic.
Even prior to his installation, Father Kiley was drawing praise from parishioners and others for holding what he and church officials are calling "listening posts" with residents. It's worth noting that Father Kiley hosted another such forum Sunday at St. Ann's Church hall, literally less than 24 hours after his formal installation. And there are more to come, including one tonight in Rockport and another next Monday back at St. Ann (see news story, Page 1).
These sessions are important, for they show that Father Kiley truly wants to reach out to parishioners and to the community at large to get to know their concerns, wants and needs for the parish.
A local pastor obviously holds a community leadership role within his church and parish. But a pastor — especially a Catholic pastor in a dominant Catholic community like Gloucester — serves as an overall community leader, too. And Father Kiley's actions in the first days after his installation show that he's already embracing that role — a very good sign for the future.
We join the parishioners of Holy family in congratulating Father Kiley in his installation — and wish him the very best in his new assignment as pastor — and community leader.