Jul 18, 2014

Plans underway for installation of Springfield’s ninth bishop



(Photo by Carolee McGrath)

By Carolee McGrath

SPRINGFIELD – When couples plan for a wedding, they get started at least a year in advance, booking the reception hall, the limo, the band and the church.

But for the historic installation of Springfield’s first Polish-American bishop, which has a guest list three times that of a typical wedding, there’s not much lead time for the Aug. 12 Mass and ceremony at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

“There’s a lot of detail for an event of this magnitude,” said Msgr. Christopher D. Connelly (third from left in photo above), vicar general for the Diocese of Springfield.

The guest list is nearing 1,000. There are invitations to address and a program to complete. There are musicians, altar servers, transportation and live television coverage on two national Catholic networks and on WWLP-22NEWS to coordinate.

                                                         (Photo by Rebecca Drake)

“It’s an exciting time. We found out Bishop (Mitchell T.) Rozanski would be bishop on June 19 and the installation committee that Bishop (Timothy A.) McDonnell put together began meeting the following Tuesday and we met every Tuesday at 2,” said Msgr. Connelly, chair of the committee. “Our last meeting will be Aug. 12, the installation, at 2.”

He said the long guest list includes bishops, priests, pastors, women religious, representatives of the many Catholic ministries and organizations, political leaders and Bishop Rozanski’s family from the Baltimore area.

“The list of those invited is to give a broad representation throughout the diocese and beyond. All the bishops in the U.S. are invited guests of Bishop Rozanski,” said Msgr. Connelly. “The majority of the people in the cathedral will be from our diocese. Bishop Rozanski made it clear that he would like it to be a celebration of the church of the Diocese of Springfield.”

The installation begins with the tradition of Bishop Rozanski’s knocking at the front doors of the cathedral (pictured below left).

“The Mass will be lengthy due to numbers and due to the ceremony involved,” Msgr. Connelly explained. “It begins with Bishop Rozanski knocking on the front doors of the cathedral – literally knocking to come in and being welcomed there by Cardinal (Sean) O’Malley. It begins at the front doors of the church and then the procession concludes in the sanctuary.”

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal nuncio (the pope’s representative to the United States) will greet Bishop Rozanski at the door.

Bishop Rozanski will be the homilist and principal celebrant of the Mass. The readings and the Prayer of the Faithful will be read in several different languages.

“During the Mass, different languages will be represented, particularly languages used in Masses throughout the diocese in our four counties,” Msgr. Connelly said. “The Prayer of the Faithful will be done in different languages proclaimed by readers from different places with different ethnicities. The Liturgy of the Word will be done in English and Spanish.”

Msgr. Connelly said the live television coverage is critical so that the more than 200,000 Catholics across the diocese will have a chance to see their new bishop.

“He’s a friendly, affable person. I’m sure he could fill up two or three cathedrals, but we can only work with what we have here at the cathedral, which holds about 900 people,” he said. “The good part is, it will be televised live.”

Mark Dupont, spokesman for the diocese and director of Catholic Communications, will oversee the live coverage for the Mass.

(Photo by Rebecca Drake)

“Catholic Communications is very happy to be providing the video service for this great historic event of Bishop Rozanski as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Springfield,” said Dupont. “We’ve partnered with EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), Catholic TV and locally with 22NEWS to carry the installation.”

He added the Mass would give people an opportunity to come together to celebrate the Eucharist with their new shepherd.

“He will speak to people officially for the first time and we can expect he will set out what his approach will be for how we embrace our faith,” Dupont said. “Of course we all celebrate the same faith. The doctrines and the teachings don’t change, but every bishop sees a special emphasis on how he sees the future and how he will lead the church in the future.”

After the Mass, the public is invited to a reception at the Better Living Center on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield at 5 p.m.

For more on this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.