Today in Michigan: "Benvenuto, Bishop Bernie"
They exited to find three inches of snow on the ground.
Moral of the story: Pittsburgh might be chilly this time of year... but upper Michigan is colder still.
Kicking off a busy December cycle of chair-shifts, today sees the formal ascent of the Steel City native and double-Ivy alum, a Vatican official until his October appointment. Breaking with custom, though, no webstream will be available of the 2pm Mass that'll see the 50 year-old double-lawyer take the reins of his 70,000-member charge, so we'll just have to rely on the reports coming in from local press and, of course, the house regulars.
Today's rites bring together an unusual mash-up of churchfolk as the earthy, 100-strong 'Burgh delegation meets Roman officialdom, led by Hebda's former boss, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, who'll be serving as a principal co-consecrator. That said, it bears repeating that Steeler Nation hasn't just been holding its own on the football field this year (...OK, last year) -- Hebda's the third Pittsburgh priest to take the reins of a US diocese in just the last eight months: Bishop Ed Burns of Juneau was installed in April, and Bishop Paul Bradley arrived in Kalamazoo in early June.
In his homily at last night's Vespers, the bishop-elect riffed on his turn in a high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof," using the thread to reflect on what he termed his "arranged ecclesiastical marriage."
With seven Stateside sees now vacant and another seven (Cinci included) led by ordinaries serving past the retirement age of 75, the Congregation for Bishops met again on Thanksgiving morning, its recommended nods likely to surface over these Advent weeks.
PHOTOS: Diocese of Gaylord