Welcome Bishop John Dolan

08-06-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Charlie Goraieb

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Dolan as the 5th Bishop of our 52-year-old Diocese. Before coming here, Bishop Dolan was the Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego and is a native of the San Diego area.

As with all major moments in our Catholic Church, the transfer of authority from Bishop Olmsted to Bishop Dolan, was a beautiful and tradition-laden event. It began the evening before his formal Installation (August 1st) with Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral. Priests, Deacons and their wives and all religious men and women were invited. At 5:30pm, when the church was silent, we heard 3 loud knocks on the main door. It was Bishop Dolan; he was following a long-standing tradition of rapping on the door as if to say, ‘let me in to take charge of my Cathedral’ (the bishop’s parish).

While the Choir intoned a beautiful hymn, Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Nevares processed in ahead of Bishop Dolan. The large chair in the sanctuary that is reserved only for the bishop, was occupied for the last time that evening by Bishop Olmsted. The next person to sit on the cathedra (Latin for seat) will be Bishop Dolan.

According to another tradition, the new Bishop is to venerate a crucifix. Bishop Dolan came in carrying his own, one given to him by the parishioners of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in So. California. The next day, at the Mass of Installation, Bishop Dolan presented that cross to Our Lady of Guadalupe, signifying the entrustment of what he brings from San Diego to the Patroness of his new Diocese. During the prayer service, Bishop Dolan made a Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity, signing both documents.

The next day was the formal Installation of the new Bishop. Again, the deeply significant and highly refined traditions of our Catholic faith were on full display. The Installation service was led by Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe (Phoenix is part of his region). Following his introductory remarks, Pope Francis’ representative read the Papal Decree appointing Bishop Dolan to his new position. After being read, the Decree, which was a parchment scroll, was unrolled and shown to the priest-leaders of our Diocese and to the 30 bishops and one cardinal who were in attendance. (It was as if to say, “Bishop Dolan is now a successor of the Apostles, receiving his authority directly from the Successor of Peter.”)

At the conclusion of reading the Decree, Bishop Wester ceded the main chair to Bishop Dolan, who was then given his Crozier (the shepherd’s crook) and his miter hat. It was now official—Bishop John Dolan is our new Shepherd. And thus began the Mass of Thanksgiving with our new Bishop as the main celebrant.

We ask St Charles Borromeo—the Patron Saint of Bishops—to intercede for Bishop Dolan, giving him wisdom and courage as he leads this very strong and faithful Diocese.

Our school reopens on Tuesday. We welcome back all of the teachers and staff, hoping they had a restful summer, and all of our students—returning and new. We are blessed to have a faculty and administration that is so competent and professional. Our children are in very good hands. I extend my deep appreciation to all of the parents (and grandparents) who make so many sacrifices to provide a Catholic education for their children.