Tuesday, August 27, 2002

"We hate to lose him, but he's yours now; treat him well." ----Abp. Justin Rigali of St. Louis

Timothy Dolan knocked on the front door of the Cathedral, both fists (he wanted to be sure it was heard inside). The door was opened by Bishop Sklba the archdiocesan administrator, attended by Fr. Last the pastor of Cathedral Parish and by retired Abp. Weakland.
The archbishop-elect was offered a crucifix, which he kissed, then was led to the font to bless himself. An altar assistant filled three holy water buckets, and the entire congregation was sprinkled. Abp-elect Dolan did the center aisle, and Bp. Sklba and Abp. Weakland took the side aisles, while the hymn was sung by the Cathedral Parish choir and the congregation. ["Crown Him with Many Crowns"] And so began the installation of the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee.

Since our Cathedral is so small, even with the expansions in the recent restoration it still seats less than 1000, the installation was divided into two liturgies so more people could come for at least some of it. All of the formal arrival and welcoming things tonight, with all the deacons of the archdiocese and their wives, and the reading of the apostolic letter and enthronement at tomorrow's Mass.

As is the way of things in Milwaukee, the vespers service was absolutely compliant to the rubrics but not bound up by them, and absolutely unhurried, full of prayer and tears and laughter and occasionally all three at once. Psalms and prayers and readings in English and Spanish and Latin, and an ASL interpreter for it all. The homily was by Bp. Sklba (It'll probably be available soon on the archmil website) and it ended with the same sentence his homily on Good Shepherd Sunday back in April did ---- "Let the people say Amen!" After the Magnificat sung in a beautiful Latin and English setting, petitions with an English and Spanish response, and the Our Father chanted in Latin, there were some words by and about the Abp.-elect. He asked "my boss" Abp. Justin Rigali to speak "on this last night that I can claim to be an obedient member of the clergy of the archdiocese of St. Louis." During these remarks was when Abp. Rigali said what is my headline. Then Abp.-elect Dolan said a few words, teased Bp. Sklba about still being in charge for another 18 hours or so, gave the blessing and dismissal, and went in a little procession to the shrine of Our Lady, Mother of the Church. The choir began the Salve Regina, Abp.-elect Dolan began to kneel at the shrine while Bp. Sklba, Abp. Weakland, and the altar assistants lined up out of the way against the wall. But then he stopped, turned around and beckoned; Abp.Weakland looked at Bp. Sklba in that "hey, he wants you" way, Bp. Sklba shook his head and gave Abp. Weakland a little shove, so the two of them, the ninth and the tenth Archbishops of Milwaukee, prayed together in public at Mary's shrine for the Church they both love.

The installation continues at 2 pm tomorrow afternoon. By this time tomorrow we can toss the "-elect" for another 25 years or so, if all goes well and if God wills. Where the bishop is, there is the holy Church.
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