Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold Rockies, Warm Welcomes

After an effusive, packed farewell tour in his native Hoosierland, Bishop Paul Etienne's family and friends touched down in Cheyenne for his ordination yesterday (photos) to find brisk temperatures in his new charge -- 11 below zero, or thereabout.

That said, it bears repeating that expectations for Wyoming's new prelate are running as high as the mercury was low... the 98,000 square-mile turf is large... or, for that matter, Etienne's affinity for power tools is great.

Sixteen months after Bishop David Ricken's transfer to Green Bay, the Cowboy State welcomed its eighth chief shepherd in a big way -- believed to be the first ever on-site ordination of a Cheyenne prelate, the Mass formally elevating the 50 year-old outdoorsman cleric took place not in St Mary's Cathedral, but before a packed crowd of some 1,500 at the see-city's Civic Center.

The Cheyenne stop was just the first of back-to-back rites installing new high-hats in the Denver province; this afternoon sees the ordination of Bishop-elect Fernando Isern of Pueblo, likewise being held in a local arena.

While both liturgies are being led by the metropolitan of the Rockies, the Mile High City's Archbishop Charles Chaput, neither is/was streamed online due to the costs a webcast would've entailed.

PHOTOS: Michael Smith/Wyoming Tribune-Eagle