Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Start Your Engines

As southeast Michigan gets blanketed with another three to six inches of snow today -- current Motor City temp: 18F -- all eyes are on something else white: the cathedra of Detroit's Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, where Archbishop-elect Allen Vigneron's installation begins in just over two hours' time (and the webstream goes live at 1.30pm Eastern, 1800GMT).

Still gleaming after an extensive 2003 renovation, the 1912 Gothic landmark that comfortably seats 800 will, roads permitting, be filled to overflow... yet while most of the 2pm rite of possession will follow the customary protocol, one added twist has been worked in along the way:

Before the beginning of the liturgy, Archbishop-designate Vigneron will go to the outside door of the cathedral and knock on it, probably with a silver hammer. Cardinal Adam Maida will open the door from the inside to welcome him into the cathedral....

The Apostolic Letter of Appointment, the official letter from the Vatican appointing Archbishop-designate Vigneron to the position of archbishop of Detroit, will then be shown to the College of Consultors, a group of archdiocesan priests who serve as advisors to the archbishop, and read aloud. Then, Cardinal Maida and Archbishop-designate Vigneron will process to the altar together. Archbishop-designate Vigneron will then be led to the bishop's chair, the cathedra, and be given a miter (the bishop's hat), and crosier (the bishop's staff). Although Archbishop-designate Vigneron already has these adornments as bishop of Oakland, he receives them in the new diocese to symbolize taking on the role of main shepherd; in fact, he'll be using the crosier given to him by his family when he was first made a bishop.

For those keeping score, today's Mass will be the second Stateside installation in a row to close with the hymn "Church of God, Elect and Glorious," following its use at December's rite welcoming Archbishop Dennis Schnurr as "adjuticor" of Cincinnati.

Following the liturgy, invitees and the general public won't be at a hotel for the customary post-Mass reception, but the archdiocese's Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Again, that is, roads permitting -- drive safe, Motor City.

PHOTOS: Archdiocese of Detroit