ORLANDO | The community of Good Shepherd Parish in Orlando received a new shepherd at the installation of Missionary of La Salette Father Andrews Kollannoor as their pastor Dec. 3, 2023. Bishop John Noonan joined associate priests and deacons and a grateful congregation to formalize Father Kollannoor’s appointment.
“On this first day of Advent as we come to celebrate and prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ, I ask you to prepare yourself to accept your pastor,” Bishop Noonan said. “He is going to be your shepherd. He is the one who will lead you to the birth of Christ. He is the one who will lead you to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
La Salette Father Frank Cooney read aloud the letter of appointment which was then shown to the congregation. Father Kollannoor proclaimed and signed an oath of fidelity, after which the bishop asked the people if they accepted him as their pastor. An enthusiastic, “We do!” and joyful applause filled the church.
When the noise died away, Bishop Noonan presented the keys to the parish, but not only to the parish, he explained, symbolically they are the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
“Father is to lead you not to Good Shepherd alone, but to heaven,” the bishop said. “May you bring your good people to the kingdom of God in Heaven. Now you’ve got to get to work. Help the people pray.”
In his homily Father Kollannoor expressed his gratitude to the bishop and to the people for all of their prayers and support. He reflected on the appropriateness of the name “Good Shepherd,” saying it is not only a call for him as their new pastor, but for all people.
“In one way or another, we all are good shepherds to each other who are entrusted to our care. We have to grow and learn from the face of the Good Shepherd,” Father Kollannoor said. “Jesus came for a few reasons. ‘I have come to give life in its fullness to all,’ ‘I have come to serve, not be served,’ and ‘I have come that nobody should get lost.’ That should be our desire. We have come that we may make other’s lives easier, more comfortable, and that all may have the fullness of life. We are called to serve, not to be served. We are servants and we should not get lost. Follow the Good
Shepherd and we will reach home. Learn from the face of the Good Shepherd to share and care and express compassion and mercy.”
By Elizabeth Wilson, Special to the Florida Catholic, December 15, 2023