St. Kathryn Parish Welcomes New Pastor, Father Michael Monette

October 4, 2019


by Laurie Jasper

Reverend Father Michael R. Monette was officially installed as the 11th Pastor of St. Kathryn Parish on Thursday evening, Sept. 26.  The Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, celebrated the Solemn Mass of Installation.  Those in attendance included 12 of Father Michael’s brother priests from the Diocese, his parents, parishioners from his former parish assignments, contingents from the Knights of Columbus and the Carmelite Order, and numerous parishioners from St. Kathryn’s.  Monette received his letter of appointment on July 11 and moved into his new position on Aug. 7 following the June resignation of the previous pastor.

Bishop Libasci welcomed those gathered and remarked that the rain, which started to clear just before Mass, had produced a beautiful rainbow.  “The rainbow is the sign of the eternal rainbow of God’s promise,” Libasci said.  “We are here to re-dedicate, re-consecrate, and restore a community in the Grace of the Lord and in the name of the Holy Spirit,” Libasci said.  “As the Good Shepherd Jesus said, ‘I will be with you always,’ for the faithful and Good Shepherd does not leave his sheep,” continued Libasci.  “The installation of a pastor is a sacred and very important trust.  You are here to receive this shepherd.  He receives you into his heart and you receive him into yours,” said Libasci.  St. Kathryn’s new pastor signed the promise of the Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith, which were then signed by the Bishop and held up by Deacon Eric Lambert, from St. Michael Parish in Exeter, for all to witness.

At the beginning of his Homily, Bishop Libasci shared that Fr. Michael chose the Mass of Christ the High Priest for his installation.  “Father Michael said, ‘These readings for the day are perfect.  Let’s keep those.’  And they are so apt,” Libasci said.  In the first reading, from the prophet Haggai, the people had lost all hope.  The people were inspired to work together to rebuild the Temple, so that, in the midst of tragedy, they could see that God was with them.  Referencing the Gospel of Luke, Bishop Libasci explained, “It is only by sacrifice, by faith, by knowing and loving God, and being willing to stand for our faith that we can find true love, true wisdom and true growth.  Herod didn’t know that.  Herod was looking for something else.  But, the Gospel brings us back to the truth.  Follow the path of righteousness.  Follow the Way of the Cross.  Follow the goodness of God and we will see Him, we will come to know, love and serve Him in this world, to be happy with Him in the next.”

Libasci continued, “And so, tonight, in this house of God, built by faith and sacrifice, this Mass celebrating the value of sacrifice and sacrificial love, this house standing as the sign of the strength of faith by a people who will be, in every circumstance, willing to defend the faith, and willing to say I will follow the Lord’s way, and we will build the house.”

After Mass, Father Monette shared, “I was deeply humbled at the Mass of Installation celebrated by our Bishop Peter A. Libasci.  It was a great comfort for me and the parishioners to have him and several brother priests from the Nashua deanery among us as a community as I begin my ministry here at St. Kathryn Parish.  I have also been deeply humbled by the gracious welcome and thoughtfulness of all the people of St. Kathryn’s who have sent so many well wishes, greetings, and prayers.  I felt it providential that the readings for the Mass of the day spoke about such hope for rebuilding the House of God.”

Gary and Patricia Canning from Sunapee attended the Mass, along with two busloads of fellow parishioners.  Prior to his new position, Father Monette had been their pastor for eight years at St. Patrick Church in Newport and St. Joachim Mission Church in Sunapee.  “We will miss Father Monette.  He was shy at first, but he is very personable and is a good and humble priest.  We wanted to come to support him,” said Gary Canning.

Deacon Ray Marcotte from St. Kathryn’s said he heard lots of comments about how reverent the Mass was, and that it was good to see the support from brother priests.  “A beautiful celebration and now we move forward, still have a lot of work to do,” Marcotte said.

Among the priests in attendance was Reverend Father Gary Belliveau, Pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Portsmouth, who was Pastor of St. Kathryn’s from 1993-2011.

“As someone who loves this community with all my heart, I’m so happy for this parish.  When a priest moves, people are not removed from his heart, his heart just expands to embrace the people in the new place, but the people in the former place remain there.  And when they go through hardships and suffering your heart aches with them.  But then, when they experience hope, new life, healing, your heart rejoices.  I couldn’t think of any place to be but here tonight.  Father Michael’s first Homily here, when he said, ‘Don’t look to me to move us forward, let’s all look to Christ,’ that was authentic,” Belliveau said.

“I thought it was beautiful that we opened the Mass with the hymn, The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.  Sometimes, we can forget that and build our foundation on a person or a program, and those things can be great, but those things can fail or disappoint.  I think the joy was tangible in the church tonight.  I know Fr. Michael to be a real, genuine priest,” said Belliveau.

At the end of Mass, Father Michael concluded his words of thanks with the words of the prophet Haggai, from the first reading, “Together, ‘let us go up and continue building the House of the Lord [here at St Kathryn Parish] so that God may take pleasure in it and receive His glory.’  Amen.”

Watch next week’s HLN for an interview with Father Michael Monette.