"In a mysterious way you have become the gift of the Magi for us." Bishop Richard Sklba, Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee to Archbishop Elect Jerome Listecki
It's an historic day in Milwaukee! The 11th Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listecki, will be installed on January 4th. My family and I had the great privilege of attending the Solemn Vespers Service welcoming him to Milwaukee. My son John had the honor of singing for the service with the Cathedral Choir. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was packed with faithful people welcoming and praying for the new Archbishop. The installation Mass is by invitation only and yours truly was not invited. Like the rest of the regular people, I will hope to catch some of the installation on television.
So far, I am impressed with Archbishop Listecki and I am sure that he will do a wonderful job drawing the good and the not so good people of this Archdiocese closer to God while upholding the orthodoxy of the Church. It's so easy for me to write that out now, but you should have seen me when the television news crew shoved a bright light in my face and drilled me about my thoughts about our new Archbishop. I stuttered and stammered and looked like the absolute fool that I am.
My favorite part of the whole evening occurred after the Vesper service. My children and I went to the Cathedral Treasury to wait for John to change from his choir vestments. I stepped away to visit with a friend for a moment and when I came back, John was standing there wearing a black hat. "Nice hat", I said, "where did you get it?" "I don't know" John said, "some priest put it on my head and then went into the bathroom. He thought I was a seminarian and then Fr. Carl, the Cathedral Rector, came over and told him that I should be a seminarian since my name is John Paul." When the priest came back from the bathroom, he told John that he would have let him keep the hat, but since it was so cold outside, he needed it when he returned to his hotel. Then he introduced himself as Bishop Morlino, the Bishop of Madison, WI.
Enter the fool once again. I have heard wonderful things about Bishop Morlino and here he was being so kind and friendly to my children. In my most excited voice I said "You're Bishop Morlino? It's so wonderful to meet you!" Do you think I would have been so excited about any ordinary priest? OK, I probably would have been just as excited to meet any ordinary priest, after all, our ordinary priests represent Christ on earth and so how could I not be excited when I have the chance to welcome someone who represents my beloved Lord!
So here I am going on and on about myself when this day really isn't about me at all, is it? It's about a man who is probably very nervous and excited to begin his new position. I praise God for Archbishop Listecki and I offer my prayers for him as he begins his new leadership role in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Won't you join me in prayer?
Eternal God, source of every gift and talent, through your Son, Jesus Christ, you grant to us your blessings that the Church might be nourished and strengthened. Bless your servant, Jerome, and confer upon him the gifts of your Spirit that he may remain humble in heart and generous in love as he serves your household the Church. Bring us all into the peace of your kingdom, where all honor and glory are yours, Lord our God, forever and ever. Amen. (adapted from the book of blessings)