05 May 2009

Bishop Cordileone "Takes Possession" of His New Diocese

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was installed as Bishop, or rather "took possession" of the Diocese of Oakland today. (The reference to taking possession is the more precise canonical term for this act; it is not a reference to the type of leadership we expect Bishop Cordileone to exercise!!) In an afternoon which began with a procession of clergy from San Diego and Oakland, continued with the new Bishop banging three times on the doors to the Cathedral of Christ the Light while Cardinal, Bishops, clergy, and people waited within and then proceeded with the reading and witnessing of the official letter of appointment from Benedict XVI and the seating of Bp Cordileone in the chair (cathedra), it was a terrific beginning to a wonderful celebration.

In his homily Bishop Cordileone emphasized that the Bishop is the icon of Christ's wedding with his church and spoke of a service to the diocese defined in terms of John's love as giving one's life for his friends. As he explained, the language of possession includes the phrase "to have and to hold" --- clearly nuptial language ---and he developed the analogy further in light of the Gospel from John 15. He expanded on the image of abiding with in light of Christ and his love; the central associated image here was laying one's life down for one's friends, and it seemed to promise a leadership of genuine Christian intent and motivation. It was a fine homily and promising for the diocese's relationship with her new pastor.

Also, for me personally, it was wonderful to see Archbishop Vigneron once again who came for the installation. In any case, the Diocese of Oakland officially has a new shepherd and we look forward to the future.