Skip to comments."Take a Deep Breath. Not You -- Me." (installation of new bishop in Utah)
Posted on 03/17/2007 3:28:52 PM PDT by NYer
Inaugurating his ministry as Utah's ninth bishop before an exceptional turnout of almost 60 bishops, a couple hundred priests and a capacity congregation of 1,100, the new arrival who's been introducing himself around town as "Bishop John" delivered one of the most impressive installation homilies of a US prelate in recent years. Papal nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi continued his national lovefest by picking up yet another new bevy of admirers, opening his remarks at dinner by apologizing to the gathered for "inflicting upon you my Oxford accent." The eighth shepherd of Mormon Country's Catholic fold, now Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco, returned with his pallium, caught up with old friends and took one last spin in the chair he held for eleven years. And, his second stint as diocesan administrator finally at an end, the beloved Msgr J. Terrence Fitzgerald -- the heart and soul of the church in Utah, they all say -- was said to look as if the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. Again.
But more than any of these, the day belonged to the cathedral.
Salt Lake's Cathedral of the Madeleine has long been respected far and wide, both as a historic treasure and for its latter-day, top-shelf program of worship. An artistic marvel, the US' sole diocesan seat where daily Lauds and
Vespers are celebrated is also home to American Catholicism's lone choir school where, in the great European tradition, the immense cultural heritage which is ours is preserved and passed forward for our own place and in our own time.
Not bad for a parish of around a thousand families.
With chops of said grade consistently on display, the framework for a stellar installation is already well in place long before the event's final run-up. Even so, however, the Utahns outdid themselves, channeling thousands of hours of preparation into a liturgy that offered precision and emotion, prayer and enrichment, the best of old, new and the magic that happens when a cathedral church lives and breathes its mission as a sacrament in the world. Just a day after Benedict XVI held up the Eucharist as a mystery that is to be believed, celebrated and lived, a local church comprised of a small minority in a place founded by the pioneers of another venerable Christian tradition showed the rest of the Catholic world that not only is it possible to do an exemplary job of it amid circumstances some might find daunting, but that the keys to the task lie not in building up grandiose institutions or hoarding vast pools of resources, but in those simple things that, sometimes, can be even harder to muster: faith, vision, cooperation and commitment.
Luckily, thanks to the wonders of the age, you can see it all for yourselves. The Intermountain Catholic -- brilliant website, they've got -- is keeping the installation up as an on-demand stream, every Sunday Mass from the Madeleine is similarly streamed and archived, and a live feed of Wednesday's liturgy was watched by over 1,100 net-dwellers the world over.
...and all that comes courtesy of a staff of three.
One-fifth of the American hierarchy converged on the Wasatch to perform what's been called an "act of homage" to a cardinal-prefect who wasn't even there. Here's hoping they didn't just enjoy what they saw, but, as with any great manifestation of who we are and what we do, that it gets carried home, carried forward and is made to spread.
Every installation is a celebration of the church's life in a particular place, and that community's place in the life of the body universal. Each one shows the best of what each is and what makes it unique. That said, armed simply with a webstream and several accounts of the day, this one was clearly one to remember, and one to exalt.
So take a bow, Salt Lake -- Greg Glenn, first of all. Not just on installation day, thanks for showing the rest of us the way through what you do and how you do it: from liturgy and technology, to outreach and spirit.
As we've been graced to witness these, so may we learn. And so, too, may we follow.
May God abundantly bless his mission to the Salt Lake City Diocese!
First hand account blogged by my the pastor of St. James in Ogden:
Very nice! I hope your new bishop fulfills the promise of his installation. And you seem to be really, really fortunate in your pastor!
Our pastor is not a raving heretic - he's a limp noodle, and will go whichever way the wind blows. Our bishop is orthodox, but he's only been here five years, while many of our unorthodox clergy have been here 20 years, with never a blip on their horizons. And the bishop, in their opinion, is powerless against them. So our pastor still perceives the wind blowing in the liberal direction. Sigh.
Not so pleased with my new diocese in Idaho, but God led me to some wonderful devout people almost immediately, so once again I have to say God knows what he's doing.
"who's been introducing himself around town as "Bishop John" "
I second that! What a blessing for Salt Lake City diocese, and all of us.
In my diocese, the bishop works hard to make sure the wind blows in the liberal direction and that his priests follow suit. He has been 'called to Rome' over some of the issues. It doesn't seem to phase him. In this era of priest 'shortage', one priest with a particular Marian devotion and a love for and promotion of Adoration at a time when many parishes in our area were 'limited' in its use by the bishop and who had no serious issues or complaints against him, was removed from his position as pastor, sent to a desk job for over a year, and returned some time later sounding eerily like our bishop. Sigh.
A new one for your lists.