Monday, November 22, 2010

A San Antonio, El Nuevo Pentecost

As the most rapturously-received appointment these pages have ever witnessed begins to take effect, the installation of Archbishop-elect Gustavo Garcia-Siller MSpS in San Antonio is beginning at this hour with a rare rite: an outdoor Holy Hour for an open-invite crowd of at least 1,500, held in the Plaza outside San Fernando Cathedral.

Given the small size of the historic sanctuary -- the spot on which the nation's seventh-largest city was founded in 1731 -- the 53 year-old prelate (now the nation's youngest archbishop by a half-decade) decided to move his opening act into the streets "to connect with San Antonio"; to that end, Garcia-Siller made his invitation via a full-page ad in Alamotown's mainstream daily paper, the Express-News.

Hailed, beloved and able to spark unusual amounts of enthusiasm across seemingly every ecclesial divide to a genuinely rare (indeed, perhaps unique) degree, the successor to incoming LA Archbishop José Gomez will formally take possession of the 750,000-member church -- Stateside Catholicism's traditional "Latin seat" -- at a 2pm Central Mass tomorrow at St Mark the Evangelist, the city's largest parish. EWTN will livestream the rites.

Meanwhile -- complete with hovering choppers above and Gustavoites come from as far as Ohio -- here's a preview of tonight's prayer-service as aired on a Santone TV station:

And for anyone who still needs an intro to the Man of the Hour, here, the Chicago farewell of the low-profile auxiliary who chose to be known as "Bishop Gustavo":

San Antonio is the first of two metropolitan churches on these shores that'll welcome new heads over the next week; 1 December sees the installation of Seattle's Peter Sartain -- at 58, the second-youngest of the nation's 34 archbishops.

PHOTOS: Bob Owen/San Antonio Express-News