At long last, he’s arrived!
A year ago, we received word our bishop, Samuel Aquila, had been appointed archbishop of the Denver Archdiocese.
I’d just taken a position as director of communications for the Fargo Diocese, which meant my new job was about to take on a whole new dimension.
It was an interesting time of saying goodbye, waiting and wondering. We definitely felt fatherless, and though our apostolic administrator did his best to keep us moving forward, it was a joyful day when we learned our diocese was among the first to be appointed a new bishop under our also new pope, Pope Francis!
You might say this is an historic event, not only for our diocese but for the Catholic Church in the United States and world as well.
Though no longer in my diocesan capacity, I was nevertheless privileged to attend, as a reporter, both the solemn vespers prayer service on Tuesday evening and the ordination Mass itself on Wednesday here in Fargo.
For both events, I joined other media in the choir loft; first in my home parish of Sts. Anne & Joachim Church for vespers, and then at our cathedral downtown, St. Mary’s, for the episcopal ordination and installation.
The events were every bit as inspiring as last year’s installation in Denver. The beauty and holiness of these sacred ceremonies fills my heart with so much joy. My only wish is that all Catholics could experience such an event, even knowing that one building can’t possibly hold a whole diocese.
Still, if only all could hear the majestic choirs and brass in person, inhale the rich aroma of the incense, see the reverence and sense the grandeur of where it all leads — to a heavenly banquet that will blow ceremonies such as these out of both water and sky. This is something I wish for each Christian in his or lifetime.
As for the bishop himself and first impressions, I have no doubt whatsoever that by this appointment, we’ve been abundantly blessed here in North Dakota.
In his concluding remarks of gratitude, God rightly came first.
“I must first of all give thanks to God for the gift of faith and his loving invitation to share in his divine love,” he began. “Not only did he see fit to bless me with his faith but he also saw fit to call me to the sacred priesthood, and now, inexplicably, to the office of bishop. For such a gift I can only bow in humble gratitude.”
Indeed, and we as well, good shepherd!