Archbishop installs new pastor of St. Teresa Catholic Church on Good Shepherd Sunday

By Mary Powers

Nestled in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church has a vibrant parish community. On April 21, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrated Mass to a standing-room-only crowd at the church, installing Carmelite Father Gregory Houck as pastor and confirming four young women in the faith. Following Mass, the Archbishop blessed the parish’s new prayer garden.  

“This is providential,” said Archbishop Cordileone in his homily, “as there can be no more appropriate day for an installation of a pastor than on this Sunday, which we call Good Shepherd Sunday.”

The Rite of Installation for Father Houck included a reading of the appointment letter from Archbishop Cordileone by Augustinian Father Gregory Heidenblut, director of ongoing formation for priests in the Archdiocese. Immediately following the reading of the appointment letter, Father Houck was presented to the leadership of the parish, including the parish council and staff. He then made an oath of fidelity to the Church’s teachings and to the Archbishop.

Then, shifting to Confirmations, Father Houck’s first action as pastor was introducing the candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation to the Archbishop and vouching for their character and formation for the sacrament. The confirmands included four young women of the parish. Archbishop Cordileone challenged them to live totally for Christ in love, not counting the cost or expecting something in return. He also encouraged them to be open to discerning the vocation God is calling them to—whether marriage or religious life.

As part of the blessing of the new prayer garden, the Archbishop reflected on the biblical Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve would walk with God at the “breezy time of the day,” with Adam telling God, “We heard you walking in the cool of the garden…” (Gen. 3:10). The blessing noted that men and women today continue to meet God in the garden, seeing His work through creation.

Full of joy after the many spiritual blessings of the morning, parishioners gathered after the garden blessing for a reception and lunch to continue the celebration.