Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For DC, Bishop Barry

Soon to receive a new president, this morning the nation's capital has a bishop-elect, to boot: Pope Benedict has named Washington's moderator of the curia, Msgr Barry Knestout, as an auxiliary of the archdiocese.

Ordained in 1989, the 46 year-old bishop-elect served as private secretary to the late Cardinal James Hickey from 1994 until his 2004 death; as Hickey's closest aide, Knestout succeeded now-Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, to whom the younger cleric bears the most astonishing of resemblances. After a two-year stint as pastor of a parish in the 560,000-member archdiocese's Maryland suburbs, Archbishop Donald Wuerl recalled Knestout to the Pastoral Center, tapping him for the DC church's top administrative slot on Bishop Kevin Farrell's transfer to the helm of the diocese of Dallas last year.

Seven months following the papal visit to the capital, the new auxiliary is the first given it since Wuerl took the reins of the Washington church in June 2006. On a ceremonial note, the Pope assigned Knestout the titular see of Leavenworth, the mother-diocese of Kansas founded in 1877; its seat was moved to Kansas City seven decades later.

In accord with the norms of canon law, the bishop-elect must be ordained within four months of this morning's appointment. When the day comes, however, it'll be a family affair in more ways than one -- Knestout's younger brother, Fr Mark, will be the liturgy's chief planner in his capacity as head of the archdiocesan worship office.

As always, more to come.

SVILUPPO: Mark your calendars -- ordination scheduled for 29 December... and, later today, the traditional mid-morning presser has been called at the DC Pastoral Center.