Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Bishop Is Sent, Breathing Forth Hope

Later today, Bishop-elect Daniel Flores will get to witness an episcopal ordination for the first time. It just happens to be his own -- and from the run-up, it'll mark one of the most enthusiastically-received elevations anyone's seen in quite some time.

The youngest member of the US hierarchy, Flores will be ordained an auxiliary bishop of Detroit in a Mass at the Motor City's Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. The texts and music will evenly switch off betwen Latin, Spanish and English.

All of 45 and, until his appointment last month, a priest of Corpus Christi, the new bishop will be the first Latino prelate to minister to the archdiocese's 130,000 Hispanic Catholics. In addition, Cardinal Adam Maida's making the most of his new aide's gift of multitasking, entrusting "Bishop Danny" with responsibility for drumming up vocations; a Thomistic scholar, he served along the way as vice-rector of Houston's St Mary's Seminary for four years, as well as episcopal vicar for vocations in his native diocese.

As one lay leader described it in today's Detroit News, the new bishop's arrival "has been like the second coming." To an extraordinary degree, you'll find that the new bishop is revered and beloved by practically everyone -- from colleagues, parishioners, former and current students, to the bishops of Texas (who're already praying for his return to the Lone Star State), and even the Detroit press which, not usually known for its enthusiasm for things Catholic, has jumped onto the welcome wagon with both feet.

Saying that "he's movie-star handsome," possessed of "a deep, resonant voice to match," yesterday's Free-Press anointed the baby bishop "poised to become a hugely popular ambassador for his church." (Another worthwhile interview -- with audio -- is on the site of the archdiocesan paper, The Michigan Catholic.)

In light of his doctorate's concentration, Flores has taken his motto from the first part of St Thomas' Summa: "Verbum Mittitur Spirans Amorem" -- "The Word is Sent Breathing Forth Love." Co-consecrators at today's Mass are the current bishop of Corpus Christi Edmond Carmody and Flores' mentor, Bishop-emeritus Rene Gracida.

A gift of the latter, the ring to be conferred at the ordination has quite a history to it: it was given Gracida by his mentor, Coleman Carroll, the founding bishop and archbishop of Miami. Carroll in turn received the ring from his principal consecrator, Amleto Cicognani, who served for a quarter-century as apostolic delegate to the US.

Archdiocese of Detroit