Mass of Reception Homily
The most memorable parts for me?
The first has to be when our new Archbishop got up to the high pulpit to give the homily... and broke into song!! He opened and closed his homily by singing "Christ Be Our Light" (!). I must admit I am not the biggest fan of that particular song, but, it did fit his "homilitic theme", and boy, he really does have a fine singing voice! (Now, if only we could hear it chanting Eucharistic Prayer I... ;)
The best has to be when Nienstedt was beginning his homily, I believe he was expressing thanks to the Msgr. who was present representing the papal nuncio (Archbishop Sambi, I believe his name is), and who had just read aloud the message from Pope Benedict to the people of our Archdiocese on his appointment of Archbishop Nienstedt. Then Nienstedt said something very special - this was not in the pre-posted homily linked above, and I do not recall precisely what he said, I hope I can at least convey the gist of it. He began by speaking on how the presence of this Msgr. made present the Nuncio, and in turn our Holy Father himself. He then began to speak briefly on the meaning and importance of the papacy, and then his voice choked up a bit as he said that the Msgr. should pass along our "gratitude, our obedience and our love for our Holy Father". The catch in his voice caught us all off guard in the pews, and the depth of his love and respect for Christ and His current vicar on earth, Benedict XVI, was very evident. I do not believe I was alone in feeling a bit of a choke in my own throat at that moment!
Following the Mass, at the reception, I was able to receive the new coadjutor Archbishop's blessing, and say a few words to him - he was very gracious, warm, and polite, carrying himself with a certain reverence that is inexplicable in words, but that those of you who have been fortunate enough to meet a wonderful bishop or cardinal (or even the Holy Father himself!) know well. I knew it the moment I greeted him by kissing his ring - some bishops get kind of "awkward" when you do this very basic and traditional greeting, but the best of them (IMHO) receive the respect graciously, and that is precisely how I would describe our new Archbishop. In fact, my brief encounter with him reminded me very much of another very brief encounter I had - last year in Rome with our Holy Father. The simularity is shocking, moreso because it is so hard to describe. If I had to pick a phrase I would say that they share a kind of "confident humility".
Also at the Mass for Archbishop Nienstedt was our newest member of the episcopal college - Bishop-elect Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Superior, WI! He was vested as Bishop Pates was during the Mass, without a mitre but with a brand new purple zuchetto! He was briefly acknowledged during the Mass, but did not speak himself. After the Mass, I spoke to him briefly on the front steps and assured him of our prayers - it is a wonderful vocation that the Lord has given him, but all wonderful vocations come with their share of difficulty and the Cross. I hope and pray that as bishop, Fr. Peter Christensen will be given both heavenly grace and earthly friendship to assist him as he steps out in faith as his namesake once did, with his eyes fixed firmly upon Jesus.
Please pray in the coming days and weeks for these two men, each assuming a new role in the vineyard of the Lord. Sts Paul, Peter, and John - pray for us!