The ritual that will officially welcome the new bishop

Bishop Robert J. Brennan (above in 2019, the year he was installed as prelate of Columbus, Ohio) will experience pomp and pageantry again on November 30 when he is installed as eighth bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. (Photo: Gregory A. Shemitz, via CNS)

Currents News and NET-TV will provide live coverage of Bishop Brennan’s installation starting at 10:30 am with a press conference. A documentary on the life and legacy of Bishop DiMarzio will lead to the ceremony and mass. To watch live coverage: click here.

PROSPECT HEIGHTS – Three loud bangs outside St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral on November 30 will mark a new era for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The sound will come from Bishop-designate Robert J. Brennan knocking on the church doors with a wooden mallet – part of a centuries-old ritual. He will succeed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who is retiring after 18 years.

The historic moments to follow will be the fourth time in half a century for the reception of a new shepherd. Bishop Francis Mugavero served from 1968 to 1990; Bishop Thomas Daily served from 1990 to 2003; Bishop DiMarzio began his current ministry in 2003.

Make all things new

“The Church provides us with a ritual which, although it is not written in concrete form, it is the aspiration that we follow,” explained Father John O’Connor, director of the office of the diocesan liturgy. , who planned the ceremony.

“It goes back to when bishops came forward in ancient times with just a letter to say, ‘I am your new bishop. “”

Since Bishop Brennan is already a bishop, there will be no ordination.

This ceremony is for his installation as the Shepherd of the Diocese of Brooklyn – with approximately 1.5 million Roman Catholics in nearly 200 Catholic parishes in the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods.

Installation, by invitation only, is expected to take approximately two hours. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the entry into the procession of priests, deacons, laity and clergy of other denominations.

A select group of priests called the College of Consultors will be ready for a special duty, ceremoniously examining the apostolic letter in which Pope Francis claims to have chosen Bishop Brennan to lead the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Rites at the gates

But it all begins with the “rites at the door”, during which Bishop Brennan will be greeted in the vestibule of the Co-Cathedral and welcomed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York.

He is the Metropolitan of the Province of New York State.

Cardinal Dolan will introduce Bishop Brennan to Bishop DiMarzio and Auxiliary Bishops Raymond Chappetto, Neil Tiedemann, Paul Sanchez, James Massa, Witold Mroziewski and retired Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros.

Then, Bishop Chappetto, who is the principal bishop and vicar general, will give Bishop Brennan a crucifix.

“It is a reminder of our salvation in Christ and of how the ministry of the Shepherd and the Sheep is dedicated to the ministry of Him who came before us, Jesus Himself,” said Father O’Connor.

The crucifix is ​​a gift from the diocese and Bishop Brennan will embrace it.

Bishop Tiedemann, who is the next oldest bishop, will present Bishop Brennan aspergillum, the instrument for watering holy water.

“Bishop Brennan will sprinkle everyone around him at the back of the church with holy water,” said Father O’Connor.

The act, he added, reminds Catholics that “in the midst of this pomp and pomp, everything is based on our baptismal commitment in Christ”.

After that, there will be a procession to the altar, which will include at least 36 bishops.

“We will have a good number of New York bishops, if not all, to come,” he said. “I suspect that there will also be quite a few bishops from Ohio to come,” where Bishop Brennan has been the Ordinary of the Diocese of Columbus since 2019.

Father O’Connor also noted that Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia will be in attendance. He has been a longtime friend of Bishop Brennan since his days as Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Center.

In addition, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark has confirmed his presence.

Letter from the Pope

When all members of the procession have reached their places and the opening remarks and prayers are over, Cardinal Dolan will introduce the Vatican Ambassador to the United States, the Pontifical Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who will read the apostolic letter of Pope Francis.

“It is a beautiful letter,” said Father O’Connor, adding that it was written in calligraphy on a special parchment and marked with the seal of the Holy Father.

“It’s also beautiful in the content,” he added. “He will talk about Bishop Brennan’s ministry and why he was chosen to be the eighth bishop of Brooklyn.

“Bishop Brennan will then show it to the College of Consultors to say that, yes, it is not a fake: I am the new shepherd. “”

In addition, Bishop Brennan will hold the letter high and carry it throughout the church to show it to the congregation. When Bishop Brennan returns to the Altar Shrine area, Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Peter will lead him to the Cathedral, commonly known as the Bishop’s Chair.

“Then they will give him the pastoral staff that symbolizes his ministry in the diocese here in Brooklyn and Queens,” said Father O’Connor.

“Bring us together”

At this point, the new bishop will greet community leaders, elected officials, and clergy of other faiths, all of whom will approach him from the center aisle.

Father O’Connor said current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Mayor-elect, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards have confirmed their attendance.

Governor Kathy Hochul has been invited, but as of November 19, Father O’Connor has yet to hear if she will attend.

Likewise, Mayor Bill de Blasio was invited, but Father O’Connor was unsure if he had already responded.

Representatives from the Diocese of Brooklyn will also fill the center aisle to greet Bishop Brennan, contributing to a scene that represents great size and diversity, Father O’Connor said.

It will include children of diocesan schools and religious formation, people with special needs, elderly people, priests, seminarians, deacons, etc.

The laity will include pastoral associates, directors of education and coordinators of various cultural apostolates, as well as some of their members in traditional dress from the countries of origin of Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. .

“We will try to have the full range of who’s who in the diocese,” said Father O’Connor. “And then once he’s done with that, Bishop Brennan will return to the chair, and then the ‘Gloria’ will be sung.”

The mass will give Bishop Brennan the opportunity to deliver his first homily as Bishop of Brooklyn.

After Mass, the participants of the Co-Cathedral will empty into Pacific Street, where even more people will welcome him.

Guests are advised to arrive early. Face masks will be mandatory for anyone participating in the processions, Father O’Connor said. All other COVID-19 protocols for Mass will be observed.

“We expect there will be no vacant post,” he said.


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