Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For Bishop Barry, a Family Affair

Clearly, freshly-mitred DC auxiliary Barry Knestout is more used to being the bishop's secretary than the bishop, himself.

Yet even while the bench's newest member adjusts to life with the crozier-crook facing outward, his St Matthew's Cathedral ordination yesterday was one for the books:
In remarks after Communion, Bishop Knestout, who is 46, thanked his family for their love and support, and he especially thanked his parents for their example. His father, Deacon Thomas Knestout, died in 1997, and the new bishop's mother, Caroline, is a retired nurse and attends daily Mass.

Addressing his mother, the new bishop said, "You and Dad have given your children the most precious gift you could give: faith, and that continues to bear fruit."

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Wuerl also thanked the new bishop's family, saying, "As this is a joy for you, it is a joy for us."

The new bishop's family of faith in the Archdiocese of Washington greeted him warmly with applause during the Mass, after he had processed through the cathedral giving them a blessing, and after his remarks. The 1,200 guests at the episcopal ordination included parishioners from St. Pius X, his home parish; from St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring, where he served as pastor; from the Church of the Annunciation in Washington where he now is in residence; and from many other parishes, including St. Bartholomew in Bethesda and St. Peter in Waldorf, where he served as an associate pastor in his early years as a priest.

Serving as co-consecrators at the Mass were Washington Auxiliary Bishops Francisco Gonzalez and Martin Holley. Eighteen bishops participated in the ordination, including Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien and Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde, the spiritual leaders of the two neighboring dioceses. Several other participating bishops had special connections to Washington, including retired Auxiliary Bishop Leonard Olivier; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who worked closely with the new bishop when both served the late Cardinal James Hickey; retired Bishop David Foley of Birmingham, Ala., a Chevy Chase native and formerly a longtime priest and administrator in Washington.

Four cardinals also participated in the episcopal ordination, including Cardinal William Baum, Washington's archbishop from 1973-80 who confirmed the future bishop; and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington whom the new bishop had earlier served as a priest secretary. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan priest who earlier led the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, also participated; as did Cardinal William Keeler, the archbishop emeritus of Washington. About 170 priests, 40 deacons and dozens of women and men religious also attended the Mass.

In his homily, Archbishop Wuerl noted that the second reading from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians "reminded us that Christ is our Hope," and he pointed out that Bishop Knestout had chosen "Christ Our Hope" as his episcopal motto. That was the theme of Pope Benedict XVI's April visit to the United States, and then-Msgr. Barry Knestout, who served as co-chair of the Papal Visit Committee in Washington.

"As Pope Benedict XVI taught us in his encyclical, Spe Salvi, and as he repeated here in our archdiocese at the Mass at Nationals Park on April 17, 'the one who has hope lives differently. The one who has hope has new life,'" Archbishop Wuerl said in his homily. The archbishop later added, "May you show that joy of ministry that clearly radiated from the face of Pope Benedict throughout his time here in this nation and our archdiocese. While we still have much to do, we live in hope because we know and rejoice in the wisdom that Christ has already overcome the world."

In his remarks after Communion, Bishop Knestout asked people to pray for him "that I might be an effective instrument of His faith, His joy and His hope... May God be in our hearts and give us the joy and hope of Christ this Christmas time and always."

Archbishop Wuerl in his homily encouraged the new bishop to follow the apostles' mission of bringing the "saving power of Christ into this world" by teaching the faith. "Your first responsibility is that of teacher,"the archhbishop said....

Eight members of the new bishop's family brought up the offertory gifts at the Mass, including his mother, two brothers, two sisters and a niece and two nephews.

In his homily, Archbishop Wuerl noted that the crosier "is a sign of your responsibility to keep watch over the whole flock so that some day when our waiting in joyful hope is complete you may be able to present to Christ those with whom you have journeyed as shepherd and teacher."

Archbishop Wuerl noted the example of St. Thomas Becket, the martyred archbishop of Canterbury. "To serve the Church is to serve Christ -- proclaim the Gospel and guide God's holy people, because to give yourself to the Church is to give yourself to Christ," he said.

Noting the bishop's role "to teach, to lead and to sanctify," the archbishop said, "As you face the challenges of episcopal service, we pray that you will always be sustained by God's grace."
The first of Uncle Ted's "alums" elevated to the episcopacy, Knestout is but the third son of the capital to serve as a bishop in its local church.

The first was the "Lion of New Orleans" Philip Hannan -- the eulogist at JFK's funeral in the very same DC cathedral, who remains well and kickin' at 95, in his 53rd year as a successor of the Apostles. A decade following his 1965 promotion to the Crescent City, the TV-producing prelate and World War II chaplain was followed by the well-loved Bishop Thomas Lyons -- a Northwest native who died in 1988 aged 64.

In other District news, Wuerl spent part of his Christmas visiting a parishioner shockingly beaten with a baseball bat in his church's parking lot before Midnight Mass.

PHOTO: Rafael Crisostomo/The Catholic Standard