Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Bishop Joe, It's Your Time"

This scribe's waited many years to say this... Lord knows no shortage of us have likewise burned to see it... 

...and in Providence's time – but not soon enough – the moment is here. Or, alternatively – at long, blessed last – the "Rector's Ark" has finally, literally, come home.

So here we go – in an expectedly memorable set of remarks (capped by an ad orientem prayer) at the close of his Ordination Mass this afternoon, church, meet Bishop Joe Strickland:

On a ritual note, even if the Eminent One of the South oddly (again) dodged the Roman rubric that, "in his own [local] church," a newly-ordained diocesan bishop is to become the principal celebrant of his inaugural Eucharist (irrespective of the rank his principal consecrator holds), another unusual element – at least, for the Western liturgy – that bled into today's rites hit the nail squarely on the head: "Axios!"

SVILUPPO: Before entering "the biggest place we could find" – his hometown's 2,000-seat civic auditorium – the ordinand got the diocesan schoolkids on hand to send him in right....

To be sure, the new bishop's "work" will begin with the same young-church – first thing tomorrow morning, the now-"Bishop Joe" will inaugurate his episcopal ministry by celebrating an early Mass with the students of the see-city's Catholic elementary school (at which time he'll take possession of his Cathedral chair), then another at the middle and high school where, alongside his duties as vicar-general, Strickland served as chaplain – and, many days, a crossing-guard – until his appointment as the permanent shepherd of the 86,000-member East Texas church.

SVILUPPO 2: Even if the liturgical signals got crossed at points, for his homily, the "Cardinardo" – now chair-elect of the US bishops' Worship arm – delivered a masterful, and just as Texas-style catechesis on the role of a shepherd, one applicable to both the wider church's "lungs." 

Here, the preach in full: 

PHOTOS: CatholicTV(1,3); KLTV(2)