Monday, May 19, 2008

"All in Our Little Backwater"

So, it happened -- after a vacancy of 17 months, Shreveport has its shepherd again... and the first episcopal ordination in the 40,000-member diocese's history made for quite the celebration... "Ecce sacerdos" et omnia.

In case you missed it, fullvideo of Bishop Mike Duca's ordination and installation in the Louisiana outpost is already available on-demand (and if Shreveport can do it, the rest can too... right?)

What's more, adding to the color, some of the reported 3,500 who were there have already sent up their impressions.

First, several blog-posts are up from the local religion reporter, Diane Haag of the Times:
The Mass included lots of words of advice for Bishop Duca. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio, reminded Duca of his calling:

"People need to be reminded of our ultimate purpose. Without God, our lives our empty.... The object of your preaching and sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship."...

[New Orleans Archbishop Alfred] Hughes and Duca also made it a point to thank Duca's parents, who live in Dallas and were seated in the front row. They received the second loudest round of applause for the afternoon.

After the ordination, Duca celebrated the rest of Mass. It was obvious he was still learning protocol as his brother bishop's nudged him when it was time to take off his miter....

[At Sunday's Vespers service] Duca had a chance to say a few words. He spoke about choosing his episcopal motto: "Hope in the Lord." His first thought was to take a phrase from the letter to the Colossians, "Dedicate yourself to thankfulness." It's a phrase that has guided his spirituality for a while, and he found if you remember how blessed you are, then you learn generosity.

But he didn't think that was broad enough. So he considered the phrase from the Gospel of John, chapter 21: "Do you Love me?" It's a question Jesus asks Peter as Jesus prepares to leave Earth. Peter responds "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." And they repeat this exchange two more times. Duce said as he meditated on the scripture, he realized Peter's response was more - yes, Lord, I love in the way that I want to. You fill my spiritual needs and bring me peace. But that's not the question Jesus was asking, Duca said. Jesus was asking if Peter would love him when it was hard and uncomfortable and led to his death. In that sense, Duca though "Do you love me?" as a motto, would challenge him. But on it's face it might sound a little narcissistic, so he ditched it.
(The paper also provides a crackin' photo gallery of the day's events.)

...and from the area's self-styled Opinionated Catholic, tonight's lead headline begins "We Are Blessed":
If you have a chance to see a Priest become a Bishop just go. Take off work if you have to too. It was quite a liturgy to see....

Be sure you eat before you go. The liturgy almost lasted three hours.

He is loved and I think he will be a wonderful Shepherd for us. I mean really loved.... I mean these people from Dallas LOVEDDDDDD him. I got a hint of the Man that God called to us to us here and I am excited....
...and the money quote:
The Italians were really just about to bust today (This Diocese is a real Italian Diocese).
Che gioia -- just makes you wish you were there, eh?

One down, seven to go.

PHOTOS: Jim Hudelson/Shreveport Times