Sunday, April 22, 2007

Around the Circuit

After a vacancy of over two years, Lake Charles finally gets its bishop back tomorrow when Bishop-elect Glen John Provost is ordained and installed at the Southwest Louisiana city's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Provost, 57, took canonical possession of the 80,000-member diocese at a Vespers service earlier tonight. Appointed in March, it's a sort of homecoming for the young diocese's third bishop; young Fr Provost served in the see city when it was part of his native diocese of Lafayette. Current Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell (a famed humorist) and founding Lake Charles Bishop Jude Spreyer will lead 26 other attending bishops as co-consecrators, with Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans as the ordaining prelate. Among the other attendees will be three veteran US prelates who, with Provost, were ordained to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI on 29 June 1975: Archbishop Raymond Burke of St Louis and Bishops Michael Cote of Norwich and Patrick Zurek, auxiliary of San Antonio.

While the anticipation in the Hurricane Rita-ravaged diocese has been running high, the farewells in Lafayette have been bittersweet:
Fatima students are "very, very special," Provost said in his address, because they do well in their studies, are "studious" and "thoughtful" and dedicated to not only studying, but living their Catholic faith.

"Our Catholic faith is not just lip-service to you. It is in your heart and mind, as well. It is a faith you try to live. Sometimes you will fail. The important thing is to try and don't give up. Never give up," Provost said as he stood in the center of the packed sanctuary....

Students, teachers and school staff after the 30-minute service filed passed Provost on their way back to school. Some paused to offer a handshake. Others reached in for a hug. Many said "goodbye" and "thank you for your service."

"Goodbye," he said, would not suffice. Provost told students he prefers the French au revoir or the Italian arrive-derci, which both mean "until we see each other again."...

During the mid-morning Chrism Mass held Thursday at the Cathedral, those assembled gave Provost a standing ovation. Bishop Michael Jarrell extended "love and best wishes" on behalf of Lafayette Diocese members, staff and clergy.

Jarrell also recounted a trip he made to the Lake Charles Diocese on Wednesday with Provost to conduct the Chrism Mass there, during which, he said, the bishop-elect "watched carefully to make sure it was done correctly."

The Lake Charles Diocese, Jarrell added, will be in the capable hands of a proven leader who will "make sure our western borders are secure."
A couple hours across the Texarkana axis, final touches are being made for what's been called next week's "Big Show" in Big D: the May Day installation of Bishop Kevin Farrell as head of the diocese of Dallas (a million strong... and growing). Today, St Matthew's Cathedral in Washington saw Farrell's farewell to the nation's capital, where the Dublin-born ex-Legionary was incardinated in 1986 and has served as vicar-general and auxiliary bishop since 2001.

The warning's already gone out to the locals: if you're going to the Catedral Santuario de Guadalupe for the installation, come early and take public transport:
[T]he downtown church where the installation will occur, the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, has the same 1,100 seats today as it did in 1990. And the diocese has more than 900,000 Catholics now, compared with about 200,000 then.

A lot of those seats will be filled with official guests: about 200 priests and more than 150 deacons, plus seminarians, nuns, media, friends and family.

For everyone else, seating for the 2 p.m. ceremony will be first come, first served, said diocese spokesman Bronson Havard.

Parking will be at a premium. The two-hour ceremony will be followed by a reception. And that means the end will coincide with the start of rush-hour traffic.

"Don't make this too scary," Mr. Havard said. "We want people to come."

The diocese is working to accommodate attendees. Plans include a 200-seat tent in the cathedral plaza, where giant TV screens will show what's going on inside. And the procession will start outside, weather permitting.

"So there will be some color for people to see even if they don't get inside," Mr. Havard said.

At least one local radio station, KATH-AM (910), has said it will broadcast the event live. Local TV stations have not announced plans. But several, including WFAA-TV (Channel 8), offered streaming video on their Web sites of Bishop Farrell's initial news conference after his selection was announced.

The time of the event – midafternoon on a workday – probably will cut the crowd down a bit, Mr. Havard said. There's also a vespers ceremony with Bishop Farrell set for the night before, an alternative to attending the installation.

As retiring Bishop Charles Grahmann succeeded to the throne as coadjutor in 1990, next week's liturgy will mark the first welcome of a diocesan bishop of Dallas since 1969.

Diocese of Lafayette