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St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hagerstown to install new pastor

Father J. Collin Poston says move will make him feel more permanent

Father J. Collin Poston says move will make him feel more permanent

December 03, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- For the past year, Father J. Collin Poston has been the administrator of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hagerstown, a post he describes as a chance for him and the parish to check each other out.

"It was sort of a probationary period ... to see if we were a good fit," Poston said.

Apparently, that fit was a good one, as Poston has added pastor to his title.

On Sunday, Dec. 27, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, an auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be in Hagerstown to preside over Poston's installation service.

Poston said when he first arrived at St. Mary's he was struck by the parish's deep spirituality.

"I was very impressed with the faith of the parishioners and their love for tradition, the Eucharist and the celebration of the Mass," he said in remarks to the archdiocese.

Poston, 40, was elevated to pastor by Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien in October. A native of Lewistown in Frederick County, Poston was raised in the United Methodist Church.

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He converted to Catholicism during his 20s because he was fascinated with the beauty of the Mass. He called Christ's true presence in the Eucharist "absolutely amazing."

Poston said he also was drawn to the role of Mary, whom he said is deeply revered in the parish. He also found inspiration in the saints.

"We, in our day and age, are looking for role models and heroes," Poston said in the archdiocesan interview. "That's who they are for us. They show us the way to be Christian and Catholic."

Ordained in 2003, Father Poston was first assigned as an associate pastor to St. Joseph in Cockeysville, Md. After three years, he was assigned in the same capacity to Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City. He briefly was a temporary administrator for St. Paul's in Ellicott City in 2008.

Poston said he will feel more permanent.

"That will give me a lot of peace now that I am going to be staying at this wonderful parish," he said by telephone. "I will be able to grow with them now."

St. Mary's has a parish elementary school with 247 students. Poston said the connection between parish and school is strong and hopes both can be a light in Hagerstown.

"If you can provide for people a welcoming church that offers the Catholic truth, preaches and teaches the faith, people will come," he said. "That's how a church makes its presence felt in the community."

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