Today we welcome the new Archbishop.
I thought it would be more crowded than it turns out to be. Looks more like a regular Sunday crowd, maybe a few hundred people. It’s really pouring out there though. Real cats & dogs. Has to have kept a lot of people away.
One thing I notice is that we’ve got something of a band today, along with the choir. Three trumpets and/or cornets, I’m not nearly savvy enough to tell the difference. A trombone and a tuba and a kettle drum. They make a huge, joyful noise. Good for welcoming.
We welcome His Excellency Donald William Wuerl first thing, with singing and music and a grand procession, through the big main doors that are hardly ever opened. Joining us today with Archbishop Wuerl are two of our former archbishops, His Eminence William Cardinal Baum and His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. Trumpets blare and the drums boom and we & the choir all sing, again with the Hyfrydol and Alleluia! Sing to Jesus. Seems like we’ve been singing that every week. And normally I think the choir would be gone by now for the summer, but I guess they’ve been held over this one last week.
The first reading is from Job.
The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who shut within doors the sea,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
When I set limits for it
and fastened the bar of its door,
and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stilled!
It makes me think first of the great doors of the Cathedral that we’ve seen opened today, the part about the sea being shut within doors. But today we’ve seen the doors opened, of course, not shut them. Although with the rain outside today, sounds like the sea could come bursting through any second. But Cardinal McCarrick tells us that rain is of course a blessing and that it’s a special blessing today for our new archbishop. Then the making of garments from clouds is lovely imagery. Today we have so many garments, with so many different clergy here today, Cardinals and Archbishop and a number of priests. There are three priests acting as masters of ceremony, Father Caulfield among them; they’re in the old-fashioned black and white choir dress.
The second reading is from Second Corinthians, St. Paul telling us that Christ has died for us, therefore we should live not for ourselves but for him. What’s especially nice for today is the end of the reading, “[T]he old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Indeed.
The Gospel is from St. Mark (as it is during Lectionary Year B, of course). What’s also cool is that both the Gospel Reading and the Responsorial Psalm speak of storms at sea, and of the Lord calming them. And again with the storm motif, today with the great storm outside.
His Excellency gives his homily from the way high up pulpit. He tells of receiving a letter from a young man named Dominic, in which letter he, Dominic, expresses amazement that (then) Bishop Wuerl knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knew Jesus. I have to agree with Dominic here, and I too really like the idea of apostolic succession. That when I was confirmed, it was by the bishop Cardinal McCarrick who himself had been consecrated by a bishop who had himself been … by a guy … who himself … this other guy … goes way back … consecrated by … consecrated by …. who had been consecrated by St. Peter who had been consecrated by Christ. How amazing is that?
Like Cardinal McCarrick used to do, Archbishop Wuerl refers to himself as “your unworthy servant” during the anamnesis and intercessions of the Eucharistic Prayer. On our way out after Mass the ushers hand us prayer cards with Archbishop Wuerl on the front and his dates of birth & ordination & installation on the back.
(The next day the Washington Times carries a story saying that parishioners “were given pocket-sized, colored photographs of Archbishop Wuerl.” Heh.)