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The Catholic Times – 24 March 2019
Written by Michelle Lemiesz
Director for Office of Divine Worship

It is logical that any major event in the life of the Church takes place within the context of the Mass, especially the installation of a bishop.

And so we will gather at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 29 at St. Joseph Cathedral to welcome Bishop Robert J. Brennan as he assumes the role God has called him to – chief shepherd of the Diocese of Columbus.

Events such as this highlight the Church’s universality. The Vatican’s apostolic nuncio – the pope’s representative to the United States – will be present, along with bishops from throughout the United States, in addition to Bishop Brennan’s family and friends from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. Also present will be clergy, Religious, members of the laity and ethnic groups in the diocese, as well as civic and ecumenical leaders representing a variety of faith traditions.

In 2012, Bishop Brennan was ordained to the Order of Bishops when he became auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre. When he was chosen to serve as the 12th bishop of Columbus, he was named bishop-designate.

According to canon law, a bishop transferred from one disease to another must take what is known as “canonical profession” of his new diocese within two months of his appointment. Canonical possession means that the new bishop exercises the full power of governance in the diocese to which he has been appointed. His installation is the reception of the bishop in the cathedral church of his new diocese. Its principal element is the Eucharistic celebration at which the bishop presides for the first time.

There will be various processions before the beginning of the installation Mass, ending with the final procession as Bishop Brennan is received in the cathedral.

His reception into the cathedral will begin with him standing outside its closed inner doors while the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre; the archbishop of Cincinnati, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr; and the cathedral’s rector, Father Michael Lumpe, wait inside. Bishop Brennan will knock on the doors with a mallet and be invited to pass through by Archbishop Schnurr, and the doors will open for him to walk through.

He will be greeted by the two archbishops and by Father Lumpe, who will present a crucifix that he has been holding for Bishop Brennan to kiss. Bishop Brennan then will be handed an aspergillum (a liturgical vessel that holds holy water to be sprinkled in blessing), and the bishop will make the Sign of the Cross on himself using the water and will sprinkle those nearby with the water. He and the attending bishops then will walk in procession to the Altar.

Archbishop Schnurr will play a special role in the ceremony because he is the metropolitan archbishop for the ecclesiastical province of Cincinnati. All of Ohio’s Catholic dioceses are part of the province, which is based in that city because the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the “mother diocese” from which the state’s other dioceses were formed.

Once the bishops have arrived in the sanctuary, reverenced the Altar, and arrived at their seats, Archbishop Schnurr will greet the congregation and invite the nuncio to read the letter from Pope Francis appointing Bishop Brennan as bishop of Columbus. The letter will be shown to the congregation and presented to the diocesan chancellor, Deacon Thomas Berg Jr., and members of the Diocesan College of Consultors, a group of priests who serve as advisers to the bishop.

Bishop Brennan then will be escorted by Archbishops Schnurr and Pierre to the cathedra, the bishop’s chair (from which the word “cathedral” is derived) and will be presented with a crosier which belonged to Bishop Sylvester Rosecrans, the first bishop of Columbus, and dates back to 1868, when the Diocese of Columbus was established.

Bishop Brennan will be seated in the cathedra and at that point will officially become the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Columbus.

After this, he will rise and go to the foot of the sanctuary to receive various members of the community who will welcome him. Once he receives their greetings, he will return to the cathedra and Mass will continue as normal (usually the Gloria is sung at this point, but this will be omitted because it is the season of Lent).