Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Il Vescovo Palmetto: Ordination Day in Charleston

As previously noted, today sees the end of another longstanding Stateside vacancy as Bishop-elect Robert Guglielmone is ordained and installed as the thirteenth ordinary of Charleston and head of the 183,000-member church in South Carolina.

With just 20 Days left until his own successor takes office in the Big Apple, Cardinal Edward Egan will preside over an ordination as the apostolic administrator of New York leads the first part of the midafternoon rites in the historic Cathedral of St John the Baptist; assisting the cardinal will be Guglielmone's predecessor, now Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, and the ordinand's now-former ordinary, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre.

The former formator, rector of Long Island's cathedral and global chaplain for scouting organizations was named to the post in January, 17 months after Baker's transfer to Northern Alabama. Like most of the South, the Charleston church -- founded in 1820, one of Stateside Catholicism's eight eldest dioceses -- is experiencing significant growth thanks to migration both from the Rust Belt and Points South; still but 4% of the Palmetto State's population, today's Catholic population there has tripled since 1980, doubling over the last decade alone.

While Baker's 1999 ordination was held in a local convention center, his successor's opted to use the much smaller cathedral, first dedicated in 1854, then rebuilt in its prior form after a fire seven years later. Then again, as broadband's a good bit more prevalent than it was a decade ago, the liturgy will be webstreamed in full beginning at 2pm Eastern (1800 GMT).

Oh, and speaking of streams, on-demand video of last week's Knoxville ordination of Bishop Rick Stika is still up and running.

Suffice it to say, the Silverlight worked like a charm.

These shores'll see one more canonical possession before Easter -- next week in Alaska, Bishop Ed Burns of Juneau will be installed a month after being ordained in his native Pittsburgh.

PHOTO: Deidre C. Mays/The New Catholic Miscellany