Sunday, March 15, 2009

there better be cake

Security will be tight for Bishop-elect Richard Stika's ordination on Thursday. Officially the event is known as the Mass of Episcopal Ordination and Installation. In this case the word episcopal refers to a Christian bishop, not the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Musicians and choir members have to be in place at the Knoxville Convention Center five and half hours before the Mass begins. The early call time is partly so they can get in one last rehearsal and partly so police dogs can sniff search their musical instrument cases and other bags. The singers have been told they cannot bring their own water bottles to the ordination, as they normally would to a service that will run for three hours. They will need to purchase bottles of water for $2.75 each once they get past the security screening. Guests attempting to bring in their own food or drinks will have the items confiscated by the guards. Also, the use of cameras by anyone other than credentialed media is strictly prohibited.

The extreme measures might be because of the attendance of Catholic bigwigs such as His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Or law enforcement officials might be taking steps to prevent a tragedy like the one that occurred in Knoxville last summer.

Bishop-elect Stika already had an impressive resume as an administrator in the Archdiocese of St. Louis when he was transferred out of the Catholic Center and into the role of pastor of the Church of the Annunziata in ritzy Ladue. The move gave him the the pastoral experience that most recent Bishop appointees have had. The parish had a farewell reception for him last Sunday after the 11:00 a.m. Mass. Their rectory will be closed Wednesday through Friday so the parish staff can attend the ordination. Many people from St. Louis, including Fr. Gary Braun, will travel to the nation's most vibrant diocese for the ceremony.

In an interview with the News Sentinel that was published yesterday, Bishop-elect Stika said he would be moving to Knoxville on Saturday (yesterday). He also said he is using the Rosetta Stone software to learn Spanish, which is probably a prerequisite of all Catholic bishops nowadays. The ordination Mass will be mostly in English, with perhaps one of the Bible readings in Spanish. Translation devices will be available for Spanish-speaking parishioners.

At the All Saints Church town hall meeting last night, Fr. Michael Woods made it clear he is aware that Knoxville's largest parish is not currently serving the Spanish speaking members of our faith. Instead, they go to Sacred Heart Cathedral, where Fr. Manuel Perez has recently gotten stricter about those who come late to Mass and let their children roam in the aisles during the service. Fr. Michael said he was going to ask the new bishop to assign an additional priest to All Saints. I would not be surprised at all if he asked for a Spanish-speaking padre in order to add a Misa en Español to the schedule.

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Blogger Meaghan said...

The Ordination is on the Feast of St. Joseph so you could break any Lenten fasts and celebrate! I shall have cake :o)


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