Friday, November 10, 2006

Pro Ecclesia in DC: Che Gioia!

Next Sunday, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington will be in the unique position of formally conferring papal honors on priests and laity recommended for the gongs by his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Nine priests and 59 permanent deacons, religious and layfolk will receive the various accolades at a service in the capital's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. While it's unusual for a new ordinary to be handing out his predecessor's knighthoods and prelatures, it's even more notable as Wuerl -- who wasn't a monsignor prior to his 1986 elevation to the episcopate -- hails from a diocese where no clergy have been elevated in-house since 1968.

Whether that remains the archbishop's policy in DC remains to be seen. He never meant to cause the priests of Pittsburgh any sorrow, he never meant to cause them any pain but, after such a long drought, the clerics only wants to see each other laughing in the... you get the idea.

Two names stick out on the list: on the clergy side, there's Msgr Stephen Rossetti, head of St Luke's Institute in Silver Spring and a priest of Syracuse. Among the lay honorees, Pope Benedict has honored Dr John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

President of the nation's first Catholic university since 2001, DeGioia is the first layman to serve at the helm of a Jesuit institute of higher education.