Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Ordination Mass of Bishop James D. Conley

(Then) Msgr. Conley was kind enough to invite us to his ordination and we were overjoyed to attend. So, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

We watched our friend of 8 1/2 years walk down the aisle to be ordained a bishop

The Consecrators were Archbishop Chaput (Denver), Bishop Coakley (Salina), Bishop Jackels (Wichita) and about 12 other bishops and about 100 priests.

After the Gospel, the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia presented Bishop-Elect Conley to Archbishop Chaput and the Apostolic Mandate appointing Bishop-Elect Conley to Ordination as Titular Bishop of Cissa and Auxiliary Bishop of Denver was read. Afterwards, the Archbishop presented this Mandate to Bishop-Elect Conley and they shook hands

Whenever a bishop is appointed by the pontiff, he is given charge of a territorial jurisdiction called a see (diocese). Because Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., already oversees the Archdiocese of Denver, his auxiliary bishop is given a titular (“title,”) see, which is a diocese that once existed but has now been suppressed. A titular see is, therefore, an honorary title given to auxiliary bishops who do not have territorial or residential dioceses of their own. Most titular sees are ancient cities of northern Africa, the Middle East or Spain, but there are some in the United States. Bishop Conley’s see of Cissa was once a beautiful Mediterranean community on the Croatian peninsula of Istria. Now it is believed to be located just off the coast of the picturesque city of Rovinj—under water—the victim of a horrific earthquake in the year 304. Three hundred years later a second quake helped to settle the once sun-drenched city even further into the Adriatic Sea. Contemporary people can attempt to visit Cissa—the Atlantis of Istria—but to do so will require a boat and underwater diving gear, a fact that Bishop Conley finds amusing. “It’s funny, one of the things I did when I was at the Congregation for Bishops was assign sees,” he told the Denver Catholic Register. “To visit my see, I have to go scuba diving. It’s a see under the sea.” With a chuckle he added, “I’m going to have to learn how to scuba dive.”

Then, everyone present applauded to show their joyful acceptance of the appointment. (Of course there is no picture, silly. I was applauding!) This was followed by a wonderful homily by Archbishop Chaput on the heart of a Bishop.

Then the Archbishop's chair was placed in front of the altar

And Archbishop Chaput questioned Bishop-Elect about his resolve to fulfill the responsibilities of the Episcopal ministry

Then all were asked to pray for the soon-to-be Bishop while he prostrated himself before God. The Litany of Supplication was sung.

Then Archbishop Chaput, in silence, imposed hands on Bishop-Elect Conley, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit. The other Bishops also imposed their hands, signifying that the ordination of a bishop is a collegial act of the order of bishops. (my picture of Archbishop Chaput was blurry, but I got one of another bishop)

Following is the Prayer of Ordination. The Archbishop placed the Book of the Gospels open above the head of Bishop-Elect Conley (which he requested open to John 12) while the prayer is prayed. (Sorry my shot is a bit blurry - I was taking all these pictures while holding either a 6 month old or a 2 year old.)

Then, newly-ordained Bishop Conley's head is anointed, which is a sign of his distinctive share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ

Then the Gospels are presented to Bishop Conley illustrating that the faithful preaching of the Word of God is the pre-eminent obligation of the office of Bishop.

Then Bishop Conley was invested with signs of his office. His ring symbolizes his fidelity to the Bride of Christ, the Church. (I don't have a picture of it, but here is a bit of info: Bishop Conley said, "I chose was a stone called a lapis lazuli, a blue stone symbolic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for my devotion to her and consecration to her Immaculate Heart.” The ring, which was created by the House of Onyx in Greenville, Ky., is yellow gold and bears the bishop’s crest and that of Pope Benedict XVI. It was a present to Bishop Conley from his brother priests in the Diocese of Wichita.) The Miter signifies his resolve to pursue holiness.

His Pastoral Staff or Crosier signifies his authority as a shepherd and duty guiding and governing the Church entrusted to him. Bishop Conley’s crosier, a gift from the priests of the Archdiocese of Denver, was crafted in Rome by the Savi Brothers, a company located just outside the Vatican that has been creating episcopal appointments for three generations. “A friend took photographs of all the things found in the Savi Brothers shop and e-mailed them to me,” Bishop Conley said. “I looked at the pictures and chose a crosier with a very simple design.” The crosier is made of silver and has the four evangelists engraved around the node of the staff. It also is emblazoned with Bishop Conley’s coat of arms. The crosier, which did not make it from Rome to Denver in time for the May 29 vespers service, arrived to be blessed only 2 hours before the ordination Mass.

Bishop Conley was then applauded by everyone present and embraced and congratulated by his fellow bishops

And Mass went on

Bishop Conley's Mother helped bring up the gifts. Unfortunately his father passed away a year ago last November but Bishop Conley had the blessing of Baptizing both of his parents into the Catholic Church not long after he himself converted and became a priest.

Archbishop Chaput consecrated the Eucharist

At this point I stopped taking pictures until after receiving Communion. We received the Eucharist from the Baby Bishop. We had not seen him for about five years. He saw Felicity first and blessed her and then saw me and a smile came over his face as he realized James and I were there and he had just blessed our daughter. He likewise blessed Cecilia when James received Communion. After Communion, Bishop Conley blessed everyone there.

Then, before the final blessing, Bishop Conley made some final remarks thanking everyone from God and his fellow bishops (including his "former Bishop" which got a laugh) and his family down to his friends from the University of Dallas.

Throughout the Mass both Cecilia and Felicity were fantastic. We were in the Cathedral for 3 solid hours. While each about a third of that, both were fantastic through the whole thing. They were even thanked by other faithful around us for being such good young members of the faithful during the service. It was a beautiful Mass and well worth flying 2000 miles with a toddler and an infant.

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