Even near-Baltic conditions couldn’t deflect from the palpable sense of joy around St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh on Sunday.
all across the Diocese of Cloyne packed into the cathedral and some
even speculated that tickets for a Cork-Kerry All-Ireland final would be
easier to come by that a ticket for Sunday’s ordination Mass.
The fact that Bishop William Crean is a Kerryman didn’t seem to
rekindle the usual rivalry between the two neighbouring counties.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford – another Kerryman – has been acting as
Apostolic Administrator in Cloyne since Bishop John Magee stepped aside
in March 2009.
Sunday was, as Bishop Crean said, a “new beginning” for Cloyne. It
had been 26 years since St Colman’s has seen an Episcopal ordination and
flags were fluttering in the sea air for Sunday’s celebration which
involved the participation of almost 20 bishops and over 150 priests
including many from Cloyne and Bishop Crean’s confreres from Kerry.
ordination liturgy was punctuated with a beautiful selection of music
which drew on the Church’s Latin tradition, the fine repertoire of
liturgical music in the Irish language and many familiar English hymns.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown struck the right note
at the beginning introducing the Mass as Gaeilge with a broad Manhattan
Most of the people present at Sunday’s ceremony probably hadn’t been
at an Episcopal ordination before.
It was a fact evidently not
overlooked by organisers: at appropriate times during the Rite of
Ordination a discreet commentary was provided, helping the congregation
to take a more active part in the liturgy.
In a ceremony resplendent with symbolism, the new bishop was reminded
about the duties of his office, then all bishops present came forward
and in a silent gesture that represents an unbroken line from Christ
laid hands upon Dr Crean.
After being anointed with the oil of chrism,
the new bishop was invested with the visible symbols of his office: a
Book of the Gospels reminding him of the duty to preach the Word of God
in season and out of season.
An Episcopal ring represents fidelity to
the Church, the mitre which represents the quest for holiness, and the
crozier – or staff – which represents the bishop’s responsibility to
guide and lead the people entrusted to him.
There was rapturous applause when Bishop Crean was led to his chair –
the Cathedra – which represents his role as shepherd for the entire
Diocese of Cloyne.
The role of the bishop as a symbol of unity in a
diocese was given powerful effect as parishioners from all across the
dioceses, joined by priests, religious and representatives of other
Christian traditions came forward to greet Bishop Crean.
Sunday was a day of great joy: a day for setting out anew, conscious
of the past and the hurt that has been caused, but not imprisoned by the
Bishop Crean was quick to pay tribute to Archbishop Clifford for his
diligence in beginning the work of healing in the diocese.
“Due to his
oversight and direction a robust and comprehensive safeguarding policy
and structure is in place throughout the diocese,” he reminded
“We can be confident that best practice now prevails and will be subject to continual reviews. Today I renew my commitment to continue the work of healing and
reconciliation that is so necessary for all. This work will take time,
understanding and patience,” Bishop Crean said.