ROCHESTER, Minnesota – As Bishop Robert Barron left the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Friday, he was greeted with the sound of tambourines, guitars, applause and singing.
During the morning, the local Catholic Church hosted the Installation Mass for Barron, officially making him the Bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. And while the mass itself was about tradition, piety and prayer, the gathering in the courtyard immediately after was about joy and celebration.
“It’s a great day,” said Jackline Kassiano, who read in Arabic during the mass. “I’m so happy to be part of this event.”
The diocese announced Barron as its next bishop in early June, replacing Bishop John M. Quinn who had held the position for 13 years. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester oversees Minnesota’s 20 southernmost counties, according to its website.
A former auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Barron “is one of the most followed Catholics in the world on social media,” according to a biography provided by the diocese.
“It seems to me that the task entrusted to me today by the Holy Father is to facilitate the process by which the people of this diocese become ever more deeply friends of Jesus,” Barron said during the mass. diocese that adores God with enthusiasm, devotion and deep love.
The Mass drew representatives from faith-based and secular communities, including those from the Mayo Clinic, the City of Rochester, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Archdiocese of Chicago. It even featured Bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador) to the United States of America.
With eight languages used during Mass, the celebration had a multicultural appeal. Parts of the Mass were prayed or sung in languages ranging from English, Latin, and Spanish to Tagalog, Hindi, Arabic, Italian, and Kiswahili.
Even within the boundaries of the diocese, the mass drew people from all over to view the historic day.
Rosalio and Dilma Agustin traveled with their three children from Worthington in southwestern Minnesota and formally greeted the bishop during Mass as representatives of the Hispanic community.
“Since God has lived with our family for a very long time, our hearts are so happy that we had the chance to be with the bishop,” said Valery Agustin, 17.
Ronald Guerra was one of the musicians welcoming Barron as he emerged from mass. Guerra came by car from Saint-Paul for the installation of the mass.
“For us, having a new bishop is like welcoming our new Peter. He was the first bishop,” Guerra said, referring to the biblical apostle. “We came to welcome our new bishop. It’s amazing that someone like Robert Barron is coming. It’s a blessing, and we just wanted to let us know we’re here.”