Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New Month... Breaking News

Good Wednesday morning, gang... and as it dawns, a Happy December to one and all.

A bit later than usual, the traditional post-Fall Classic appointments -- at least, the first batch of year-wrapping moves -- have dropped for the Stateside church.

At Roman Noon today, the Pope:
  • named Msgr Edward Rice, 50, director of vocations for the archdiocese of St Louis, as auxiliary bishop of the 560,000-member church in the "Rome of the West." Ordained a priest in 1987, the bishop-elect succeeds auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann, who reached the retirement age of 75 in August 2009, but wasn't released until this morning; Rice will be ordained a bishop on 13 January.
  • and -- some weeks earlier than expected -- accepted the retirement of Bishop John Mortimer Smith of Trenton, who turned 75 in June, effecting the immediate succession to New Jersey's 800,000-member capital see of its coadjutor of four months, Bishop David O'Connell CM, 55, best known far and wide for his decade as president of the Catholic University of America in Washington.
Indeed, as he joked on Day One, Bishop David is now, officially, "a 10"... yet even so, there'll only ever be one Mort Smith.

Then again, lest anyone here missed its original airing, as starts go in episcopal ministry, few -- if any -- could be more auspicious than this....

...and as ever, away we go.

SVILUPPO (6.40am ET): Quoting Handel's Messiah, O'Connell bursts out of the gate, issuing a Succession Hour message to the "great diocese," its money-graf here:
My greatest concern is the fact that only 25% of our Catholic faithful in the Diocese go to Mass on Sunday. Why is that? What can we do to bring them back and welcome them, truly welcome them home not just for an occasional visit but to stay? We all need to work toward that goal with every ounce of strength within us.

There must be an answer. We have to find it.
While the Trenton transition has already taken place in juridical terms, it'll be liturgically commemorated at a noontime Mass next Wednesday -- the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of these shores -- in the Jersey capital's St Mary's Cathedral.

out in Cardinals' Country, St Louis' own ├╝ber-scribe on matters church -- the Beacon's Patricia Rice -- sends up a quick-turnaround piece on the new auxiliary (who, to be clear, is no relation).