Archbishop installation rich in symbol

October 01, 2007|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,Sun reporter

The two-hour Mass of Installation of Baltimore's new archbishop this afternoon will include long-standing traditions and symbols of the Catholic Church.

Rituals for the service are spelled out in the Ceremonial of Bishops, a Vatican guide, said Monsignor Robert J. Jaskot, chancellor of the archdiocese, who is planning the installation of Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien.

About 1,800 people are expected to attend.

At 1:10 p.m., the ceremony will begin just inside the door of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore, where O'Brien will be greeted by the cathedral's rector, Monsignor Robert A. Armstrong.

There, the priest will give O'Brien a crucifix, "a sign that he will be serving in the image of Christ, who gave himself fully, even to the point of dying on the cross," Jaskot said. The archbishop will then sprinkle those present with holy water. He will also stop and pray in front of the Eucharist in a cathedral chapel.

At 1:30 p.m., about 450 seminarians, deacons and priests from the Archdiocese of Baltimore as well as the Archdiocese of New York, where O'Brien was first ordained a bishop, as well as military chaplains from the Archdiocese of Military Services, are expected to process into the cathedral followed by bishops and archbishops.

At 2 p.m., O'Brien will enter, flanked by eight cardinals, including Cardinal William H. Keeler.

The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who serves as the Vatican's diplomat to the United States, will greet those present with wishes from Pope Benedict XVI, followed by a welcome from Keeler.

Then the rite of canonical possession begins with an inspection of the Vatican document by the College of Consultors, a group of the archdiocese's priests. Their certification of the document will be recorded for the archives of the archdiocese.

Sambi and Keeler will then escort O'Brien to the cathedra, or bishop's chair, which is the symbol of his teaching and pastoral authority, Jaskot said. The drape behind the cathedral has been changed from red, signifying Keeler's rank as cardinal, to the green for an archbishop or bishop.

The two will also present him with the historic crosier, or shepherd's hook, used by Baltimore's third archbishop, Ambrose Marechal. O'Brien will also use Marechal's chalice.

Keeler will not sit in the cathedra during the service. When the pope appointed O'Brien in July, he named Keeler apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. The chair, recently reupholstered with the new archbishop's coat of arms, will remain empty until O'Brien sits there.

One side of O'Brien's coat of arms pays homage to his two mentors, with the emblems of Cardinal Terence Cooke and Cardinal John O'Connor - he worked for both former archbishops of New York - as well as Pope John Paul II. It also has a globe, representing the global mission of the Archdiocese of Military Services.

His motto, Pastores Dabo Vobis, or "I will give you shepherds," is a phrase from the Book of Jeremiah that was the title of a 1992 document by Pope John Paul II about the training of priests.

The installation takes place on the feast day of French St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as "Little Flower."

Parts of the service will feature seven languages representing the various ethnic communities within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as music from the Latino and African-American communities.

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