He first arrived on the Riverside scene July 1, 2011 but on Sunday, Oct. 30 Father Thomas May, officially was installed as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Riverside. The installation was held at the church’s 11:30 a.m. Mass and officiated by Bishop John Manz in the Parish Center to accommodate all those attending.

Following the Mass a reception was held in the Oak Room where more than 400 people greeted Father Tom. The reception was coordinated by Teresa Hall and Dolores Tedesco.

 In the four months since arriving in Riverside, Father Tom has already made his presence known. He jokingly said upon first coming out to see St. Mary’s that he felt he might have to purchase a GPS to find his way around. We trust he has become somewhat knowledgeable navigating Riverside’s streets.

 Father Tom now adds his name to a long line of pastors dating back to 1873, when the parish was established as a mission church and located in Lyons. The present site was dedicated in 1926.

 In the short time he has been here, Father Tom has become a visible presence greeting people outside of Church following Saturday evening and Sunday morning Mass. In a letter to the Parish published in the church’s bulletin The Bell (remember the movie The Bells of St. Mary’s? That is somewhat how the bulletin received its name.) Father Tom expressed his “excitement about being appointed to St. Mary’s as pastor.”

The journey to St. Mary’s has been made easier by a pastoral and support staff at St. Mary’s, and particularly by Father Michal Lewon, the associate pastor, who makes everyone feel special and welcome, as well as pastoral associate Sr. Margaret Sannasardo BVM, who always has a smile on her face as she goes about her duties. May the spirit of welcoming to Father Tom continue.

Busy weekend: Members of the Riverside Brookfield Young Life group will be holding their annual dinner and fundraiser at the Riverside Township Hall on November 5. A great time to learn what many of our area young people are doing.

Or if you think you know the answers, you can attend Trivia Night at the St. Mary’s Parish Center, a fundraiser of the Riverside Junior Women’s Club, also on Nov. 5.