Friday, January 25, 2008

And Speaking of Father-Generals...

It's a homecoming today in the nation's capital, as Archbishop Timothy Broglio is installed as chaplain-in-chief of the US Armed Services.

Until his November appointment as archbishop for the Military Services, the Cleveland-born Broglio, 56, served as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic and apostolic delegate for Puerto Rico. A former chief of staff to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Broglio was the first-ever US cleric to serve as top aide to a Secretary of State. And, in token of the increasing prominence of the military post -- last occupied by Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore -- he's also its first holder with no ministerial background in the services.

From World War II until its 1985 spinoff and move to Washington, the "military ordinariate of the United States" was bonded ex officio to the archbishopric of New York, with its day-to-day governance delegated to a specially-appointed auxiliary bishop.

While not a few Stateside folks dreamed of a "trade" to the Pope's twin houses in Santo Domingo and San Juan, those hopes were dashed yesterday as Benedict XVI named Archbishop Josef Wesolowski to succeed Broglio. Until now, the Krakow native has been the Vatican's man in Central Asia's "Stan" countries -- Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. (Or, if you prefer, "nuncio to Borat.")

The 2pm (1900UTC) installation Mass in DC's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be shown and streamed by EWTN.

Lacking a cathedral to call its own, the military archdiocese -- which, with 1,000 chaplains, serves the 1.4 million Catholics of the forces spread across the globe -- uses the Shrine for its major celebrations. As the lone non-metropolitan jurisdiction of the nation's 34 archdioceses, no pallium comes with the post.