by Marc and Julie Anderson
EMPORIA — Father Brandon Farrar might be the new pastor of Sacred Heart Parish here, but he is no stranger to the Emporia community.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann formally installed Father Farrar as pastor of Sacred Heart at the 5:45 p.m. Mass on Sept. 12. It’s the second time that Father Farrar has called Emporia home.
About 16 years ago, after graduating from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, he followed his older brother to Emporia. His brother was then an optometrist in the city, and Father Farrar’s plans were to attend graduate school. He even had a research position at Emporia State University. It wasn’t to be.
Having felt the call of Christ back in Texas at a campus center, Father Farrar said he realized while sitting in class one day that he needed to resolve the seminary question.
After withdrawing from graduate school and giving up his research position, Father Farrar entered the seminary. He was ordained June 24, 2006. Prior to moving to Emporia for the second time, he most recently served as pastor of parishes in Baldwin City, Edgerton and Lapeer. Last July, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish.
As is often the case, his installation came a few months after he assumed his new pastoral duties. Nevertheless, it provided the archbishop the opportunity to formally introduce the priest to the parish community.
In his homily, Archbishop Naumann shared how reviving the rite of installation has afforded him the opportunity to preach about the importance of the priesthood in parishes throughout the archdiocese.
“We like to do these public installations of pastors at the Sunday Eucharist because it shows the link between the priesthood and the Eucharist,” said the archbishop.
He hopes it also serves to bolster them.
“It’s important for all of us to pray for priests and to encourage them,” he said. “Being a priest today is not for the timid.”
In fact, “there is nothing more countercultural today than being a priest,” he added.
Concluding his homily, Archbishop Naumann again encouraged the congregation to be thankful for and to pray for the gift of all priests and, in particular, for the gift of Father Farrar.
The rite of installation continued with a public profession of faith by the new pastor, one in which Father Farrar pledged to willingly and wholeheartedly serve the people of God within the context of the parish assignment. It was that moment that gave him pause, he later said.
“What struck me tonight as I spoke those words to the archbishop,” said Father Farrar, “is that I am part of a tradition that extends both in time and space.”
Father Farrar also added that, in saying the words of the Nicene Creed, he was reminded that the profession of faith is the same one that “Catholic after Catholic, priest after priest, has made since Christ walked this earth.”