Father Francis Cosgrove, who was installed Sunday to lead Meridian's Catholic community, says he plans to begin his service here by meeting people and putting his ear to the ground.
"Because every community is different, I want to figure out what the needs are, not only the Catholic community, but the whole city because the Catholic Church reaches out to people," said the Rev. Cosgrove. "We believe, as the Bible says, as Jesus says in Matthew 25, as long as you did it to one of these even the least of my brothers or sisters, you've done it unto me."
Father Cosgrove said he believes strongly in community affairs, a belief he says is rooted in the teachings of the Scriptures.
"First of all, my role as a priest is to bring people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, but we are also not meant to stay in church all day. The Lord sends us out," Cosgrove said.
Father Cosgrove says he looks forward to getting to know and working with leaders of other faiths as well, something he says is possible with the proper focus.
"We emphasize what we have in common, what we all, the Christian faiths have in common is our faith in Jesus Christ," the priest said. "What we have in common with our Jewish or Islamic brothers and sisters is a common belief in God, the Creator."
Born in Ireland, Cosgrove has been in Mississippi since 1965 and comes to the Meridian area after having served more than a decade as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and chaplain of St. Catherine's Retirement Village in Madison, Miss.