The new pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Columbia Station, Father Edward Holland, was installed on Oct. 28 by Bishop Nelson Perez. Father Holland said he was honored and humbled that the event took place on Priesthood Sunday.
Bishop Perez commented on the serenity of the parish’s spacious grounds, quipping that it’s the first parish he’s been to that has its own pond. The parish grounds consist of about 14 acres and include a prayer path with stations of the cross and benches that visitors can use as they reflect, pray or simply enjoy the scenery.
During his homily, the bishop connected the Gospel to what he said the parishioners were likely feeling that day, as well as those who were there when the parish was established: a feeling of hope. He said the day’s Gospel has a message of hope for those who receive what they are seeking. It told the story of a blind man whose sight was restored because of his faith in Jesus.
Many people passed by the man, but when he heard the news that Jesus was coming, he screamed in an effort to gain Jesus’ attention. The bishop said the man was so loud and obnoxious that everyone, including the disciples, kept telling him to be quiet. He said that Jesus used this as a teaching moment to show people how to treat others. He said Jesus asked the people to bring the blind man to him and he saw the faith in the man’s heart.
The bishop also reminded the congregation that this was another example of Jesus showing us how he takes particular care for those on the periphery — the underserved. He said Jesus saw that this man knew exactly what he wanted and that only Jesus could give it to him. This same scripture passage can speak to us today, he said, asking the congregation, “What is it that you want? Think about how you would answer that question.”
As is customary when a pastor is installed, members of the staff and parish council were invited to greet their new pastor. Father Holland’s parents and other family members were also in attendance at the Mass.
Father thanked the parishioners for their assistance and prayers. He also asked for their continued prayers, patience and support, saying he knows that there will be plenty of mistakes along the way as he continues to learn and grow as their pastor.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish was established in 1976 to serve the faithful in Columbia Station and Eaton townships. The first Mass was celebrated on July 4, 1976 – the nation’s bicentennial — at Columbia Middle School. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first American-born saint, which made the date of the parish’s first Mass even more significant.
As the parish grew, parishioners decided they wanted to build a center that could serve four purposes: worship, education, fellowship and administration. On Sept. 16, 1979 the building was officially dedicated. Today, more than 625 families are part of the parish.
For more information on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, visit seascolumbiastation.org.