Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ordination Day in Brooklyn

There's your shot of the day.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn became the first of the McCarrick bishops to spread the Ted's episcopal lineage earlier today when he ordained three new auxiliaries in a ceremony at one of the mega-diocese's spacious parish churches, Our Lady of Angels in Bay Ridge.

In keeping with the traditions of Brooklyn Catholicism, the choice of venue was a practical one -- while the Cathedral-Basilica of St James is too small, the traditional fallback site of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where DiMarzio was installed in 2003, isn't air-conditioned.

As many of you know how layers of vestments don't help in the August heat, comfort dictated the day. Or at least the site. But they lugged in the gigantic oak cathedra from St James for the event nonetheless.

The elevation of Bishops Guy Sansaricq, 71, Octavio Cisneros, 60, and Frank Caggiano, 47, was the third triple ordination the US church has seen this decade and the second in the 153-year history of the Brooklyn diocese; the first was in 1980. Four cardinals (Egan, McCarrick, O'Malley and Rodridgez Maradiaga) joined 44 archbishops and bishops for the event.

Sansaricq -- the first Haitian-American bishop -- is known as the "godfather" of Brooklyn's Haitian community, and has served since 1987 as National Director of the Haitian Apostolate. Representatives of the Haitian government were in attendance at today's liturgy. In an interview on his appointment with the Brooklyn Tablet, Sansaricq spoke of learning from his years of ministry "the plight of immigrants in general and especially of undocumented immigrants," highlighting an issue of historic and current import to the Brooklyn church. The diocese's Migration and Refugee Office, the first of its kind in the world, is marking its 35th anniversary this year.

Bishop Cisneros, the fourth Cuban-American named to the episcopacy but, notably, the first outside Miami, arrived in the US on the Pedro Pan airlift when he was 16. Though he initially settled in Marquette, Michigan, he found his way to Brooklyn, where he was ordained in 1971. Since 1994, he's served as the diocese's Secretary for Priestly Formation and Rector of the Seminary Residence at Douglaston, the large chapel of which was one of the venues under consideration for today's ordination.

Born in March, 1959, Bishop Caggiano is the third-youngest American bishop after Marquette's Alex Sample and local boy done good Dan Thomas. Trained at the Greg, where he earned an STD, he is said to have an intriguing concept of the "rabbinization" of the church -- an observation based on the evolution of the Jewish tradition, where the importance of teaching came to overshadow that of priesthood. He currently serves the Brooklyn Curia as Secretary for Evangelization and Pastoral Life.

PHOTO: Reuters/Keith Bedford