Sunday, February 26, 2006

Purple Sneak Preview

Zucchetto, fine.... But simar-and-all -- before ordination?

On Tuesday, the travelling circuit (including newly-arrived apostolic nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi) will converge on Nashville for the ordination and installation of native son David Choby as its bishop.

And, yes, the ordination will take place in the diocesan Cathedral of the Incarnation, so if you're looking to start a crusade over the choice of venue, you're out of luck on this one. Sorry.

The bishop-elect received the tribute of the parish he's led for 17 years the other night:

Hundreds of his parishioners flooded into the St. John Vianney Elementary School [Friday] night for a bittersweet celebration.

"He's my friend, confessor and guidance counselor," said Byrna Highlander, 66, who commutes daily from Gallatin to cook for the Fathers of Mercy in South Union, Ky.

"I can't think of a better person to be bishop of Nashville."

When Choby entered the building in a magenta cap and sash, which is the Bishop's House Cassock garb, applause filled the gymnasium and people stood.

With a broad smile, he took time with each as a long line queued up to touch his shoulder, shake his hand, talk.

"I like reading the Bible and seeing and saying hi to him," said Patricia Vasquez, 10, who stood later with eyes shyly averted for a photo with the church leader.

Young and old left notes on a large sheet of paper, talking of their love for Choby, congratulating him and saying they would miss him.

Letters from children at the school plastered another board, extolling him as "awesome," "nice," "an inspiration," and "the best."

"I have enjoyed you being our priest and now our Bishop," wrote Anna Kendrick. "I hope you make very good decisions and some day be pope. I think you would be a great pope some day."

Cute, eh?

Billy Kingsley/The Nashville Tenesseean