Friday, May 15, 2009

Purple Monsoon... Minus the Purple

Mention papal honors in this part of the world and -- as veteran readers are well aware -- two words usually come to mind: "Purple Rain."

That is, monsignori. Period. End of sentence.

To this day, see, whole swaths of the Northeast reflexively refer to the local pastor as "the monsignor," irrespective of what he actually is. But say the words "papal knight" and -- no joke -- visions of DaVinci Code start dancing in the good folks' heads.

Given said backdrop, leave it to a son of Jersey to strike a blow at the tradition:

Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed papal honors upon 41 laywomen and laymen of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The honors include investiture into the Order of St. Gregory the Great and the Equestrian Order of Pope St. Sylvester and bestowal of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross and Benemerenti Medal.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will confer the awards during a special ceremony Sunday, June 7, at 4 p.m. at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Brooklyn.

A similar boom sounded across the East River late last year, when another all-lay list of 44 honors rained down upon the archdiocese of New York.

Speaking of the "fountain of honor," next week SoCal's diocese of Orange -- with 1.2 million Catholics, the nation's 12th largest local church -- will celebrate Rome's recognition of eight priests and 27 laity, including a couple being inducted together into the Order of St Gregory.

Orange's Liturgy of Conferral will take place in the historic Mission Basilica of San Juan Capistrano, whose newly-elevated chief, Msgr Arthur Holquin, now gets a chaplain's cassock to match his rector's mozzetta.