I know the title of this post is a little "over the top" but I guess I feel a little over the top right now. I think most of you will forgive me at least for a few more days!!! Somehow it seems completely fitting to me that this "new dawn" picture has the announcement of my call to the episcopacy with the Chapel of Saint's Peter and Paul in the background. I'm sure for a lot of us these images conjur up a lot of reflections on the wonder of God's grace in this community.
I've appreciated the on line comments and in person comments of so many of you and it seems that my idea of sharing my journey to the episcopacy is accomplishing exactly what I hoped it would. I hope that as you hear the touching or humorous stories that it will draw you closer to your deacons, priest and bishops and most importantly closer to the Lord. After all he lived his life as a simple carpenter. I like to imagine what His reaction would be. Ultimately the images and symbols of the episcopacy of His Church have a beautiful and rich history that speaks of the devotion of God's people through the ages.
Speaking of symbols of the episcopacy, Bishop Corrada has been a tremendous help in guiding me regarding the proper protocols and customs of this time between the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI has named me Bishop of Tyler and my ordination on November 28, at 2:00 PM in Caldwell Auditorium.
The miter (triangular bishop's hat) the crozier (bishop's staff) and the bishop's ring are all given to the bishop as part of the ordination liturgy. During these two months the bishop has instructed me that it is proper for me to use the pectoral cross (cross the bishop wears on a chain around his neck) and the zuchetto (the dark pink skull cap). As Bishop Corrada and I discussed the announcement last week and his introduction of me at the Cathedral liturgies at first I was just going to borrow one of his zuchettos and his pectoral cross. As it turned out I am able to use the pectoral cross that Bishop Herzig received for his ordination as our first bishop. This was a very special gift for me to be able to use his pectoral cross because I was there at his ordination and served as one of the masters of ceremonies.
Father Anthony McLaughlin was going to let me use a zuchetto that he keeps on had at the Cathedral but Bishop Corrada was kind enough to give me one so that is the zuchetto I will use during this time. I have to admit it takes a little getting used to wearing the pectoral cross and the zuchetto. As I mentioned in an earlier post I've already had one slight "wardrobe malfunction" when I had the zuchetto on at the wrong time during the mass. I guess the bright side is that most of us don't know these protocols of a bishop so maybe my mistakes won't be too noticable.
It occurs to me that a lot of my time will be taken up in the next several days with getting "things" in order. Please pray that I can stay focused on "the people" I am preparing to serve. The things can be beautiful images as long as they stay connected to the service of the People of God that they signify.
Bishop Corrada has been more than kind throughout this time. He is a very gracious man. Last night it was a joy for me to preside at the Red Mass at the Cathedral at the invitation of the bishop. After the mass last night he said, "you truly presided like a bishop" and from Bishop Corrada who is truly an expert I receive this comment as the highest of compliments.
Today is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. I celebrated mass this morning in the small chapel upstairs in Gorman School and I mentioned that my guardian angel had received an upgrade in responsibility. I will need him whispering the constant message of God's love and grace as all our guardian angels do as I continue this journey.
More to come....................so stay tuned.
OH SACRED HEART OF JESUS I PLACE MY TRUST IN THEE..............IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY I ASK THEE PRAY FOR ME. GOD BLESS.