Father Toole to teach the Gospel message at Sacred Heart in Brevard
BREVARD — With the expansive church filled with worshippers, Sacred Heart Church in Brevard welcomed its new pastor recently in a special bilingual Mass of installation celebrated by Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
Father Patrick Toole, formerly parochial vicar at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte, was installed July 23 as pastor of the 63-year-old parish situated near the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a warm reception for the young priest in his first assignment as pastor.
Sacred Heart is a unique parish community of close to 500 families, being comprised mostly of retirees and vacationing Catholics, more than one parishioner remarked following the installation Mass, and at 32 years old Father Toole comes with a much different background than their former pastor, Father Carl Del Giudice, who has moved to Our Lady of Consolation Church in Charlotte. Father Del Giudice served Sacred Heart Parish for 21 years, and some said they "weren't too sure about this" change when they were first informed of it.
So what do they think of Father Toole so far?
"He's a winner," said Tom McGohey, and his sentiment was echoed by others.
Besides being his installation Mass, Father Toole requested from Bishop Jugis that it also be a special votive Mass offered for the Sacred Heart. The beautiful prayers of the votive Mass mirrored the effusive character of the parish.
During the installation Mass, Bishop Jugis reminded Father Toole of his priestly ministry to teach, sanctify and shepherd the faithful in Brevard. To fulfill his role, he must not only know people's names from a distance – he must serve them as Christ served: "to know your sorrows, to know your difficulties, to know your challenges, to know your joys and your celebrations – to be the Good Shepherd."
The self-sacrificing character of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Jugis noted in his homily, especially expresses this divine love of God for His people.
"It's just amazing to consider the mystery that is present in the Person of Jesus. Humanity and divinity come together: God our Good Shepherd coming down from heaven, taking humanity to Himself, so that He could express all of the love of God, all of divine love, and mercy and compassion in a human heart – the Heart of Jesus," he said, adding, "The heart of your pastor, Father Toole, is to be an expression of that Heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd for you."
He also encouraged Father Toole to see the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, as the life-giving sun emanating rays of love and warmth that will feed all of the ministries of the parish – which at Sacred Heart number more than 50.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Father Toole expressed his thankfulness and said he looked forward to working with everyone in sharing the Good News of Christ. He thanked Bishop Jugis and his fellow priests who had traveled from around the vicariate and from Charlotte to be a part of the Mass, as well as everyone who helped to prepare for the special occasion. He also recognized seminarian Brian Kaup, who grew up in Sacred Heart Parish and is now pursuing studies to become a priest for the Diocese of Charlotte. Kaup served at the Mass, along with fellow seminarian Casey Coleman.
"I'm very happy to be here as your pastor, and I want to thank all of my colleagues for being patient with me these last few weeks as I figure out what the heck I'm doing," he joked, evoking laughter from the congregation.
As many parishioners nodded their heads as they listened, Father Toole concluded, "We are a parish community that is open and welcoming of God's love and sharing His gifts with one another. We are one community of faith here at Sacred Heart."
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
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