"Bishop Joe, It's Your Time"
...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)