Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out of Darkness: At Long Last, "Wuerlybird" Gets the Hat

In his first major turn since this morning's announcement of his elevation to the papal "Senate," Cardinal-designate Donald Wuerl will deliver a lecture tonight at Houston's University of St Thomas on "Religious Faith’s Role in Building a Good & Just Society."

Slated to begin at 7.30pm Central (8.30ET, 0030GMT), a livestream link to the talk has been provided, and the vid should be available on-demand shortly afterward. (ED: On-demand link.)

The 49th American cleric called to the scarlet since New York's John McCloskey in 1875, here are snips from the DC designate's post-Mass presser in the capital's St Matthew's Cathedral:

...and, while just a graf of it emerged early this morning, here in full, Wuerl's Red Dawn statement:
The gracious act of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in elevating me to the College of Cardinals is a recognition of the importance the Holy See places on the Archdiocese of Washington, the Church in the nation’s capital. I am humbled and grateful to our Holy Father for his trust in me as shepherd of this flock and I renew my pledge of fidelity, affection and loyalty to him.

Yesterday I learned of this announcement, the day the Church celebrates North American martyrs. In the Church’s liturgy in memory of these missionaries, only two are recognized by name. The rest are simply listed as companions. That struck me as applicable to this honor today. In this wonderful Church, clergy, religious and lay faithful all work so hard on behalf of the Gospel, but since you cannot name everyone, the Church names the bishop.

My thoughts immediately turned to the Holy Father’s visit to Washington just over two years ago and the great privilege I had in welcoming him, the Chief Shepherd and Vicar of Christ, who came among us to strengthen us in our faith.

I had the joy of telling our Holy Father that not all that far from here in 1634 the first Catholics arrived in the colonies that later formed the United States. From those modest beginnings has come forth a Church truly representative of the Gospel’s message of hope. Today in his kindness to the Church of Washington, the Holy Father has renewed his support and love, and we in turn express again our bonds of faith and affection for him, the Vicar of Christ.

In accepting this honor, I renew my pledge, in the words of Pope Benedict, to “repropose the perennial truth of Christ’s Gospel” as this local Church carries out the New Evangelization in announcing the good news of Jesus Christ. Today as the Holy Spirit is urging the Church to rekindle in people’s daily lives a new awareness of and familiarity with Jesus, the Spirit is also charging me to deepen my commitment in my service as shepherd of this archdiocese.
And just one more thing....

Yet again, the Steel City's proven that its history of dominance merely begins on the gridiron -- with Wuerl's elevation, four of Pittsburgh's last five ordinaries have gone on to the red hat, and with two native-son cardinals already to the dioceses's name, for the second consistory running a Burgher has made the biglietto.

(The only other US diocese that could likewise lay claim to three living native-son Roman princes: the largest of 'em all, LA.)

Accordingly, in the town where he's still known as "Bishop Wuerl" -- the place he still regards as his "first love" -- Super Bowl-esque celebrations have ensued; the cardinal-designate's chief protege and chosen successor in the Burgh church, Bishop David Zubik, held a press conference of his own this morning to rejoice in his mentor's selection, and Wuerl's ascent has been the lead story all across local TV there from before the crack of dawn.

In that light, for the now-designate's 1988 installation as his hometown's 11th bishop, a special hymn was commissioned. Over time, such was the future cardinal's affinity for the tune that it was sung at every major diocesan event of his 18-year tenure, becoming along the way the unofficial anthem of his ministry there.

Ergo, to mark the day, it's worth rolling out once again...

PHOTOS: Getty(1); AP(2)