(Host) Fourteen-hundred people celebrated the appointment of a new Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington yesterday. Salvatore Matano was ordained in a carefully orchestrated three-hour ceremony at Saint Joseph’s Co-Cathedral.
VPR’s Steve Zind has this report.
(Zind) Light from the warm spring day filled the cathedral interior, as priests in bright white vestments, monks in earth tones and bishops with tall sparkling miters walked slowly past the crowded pews to the front of the cathedral to begin the ceremony.
For Vermont Catholics the day was doubly auspicious. Only an hour earlier, a new Pope had been introduced in Rome. Now Vermont Bishop, Kenneth Angell, was introducing his successor.
(Angell) “Probably this man is the first to be made a Bishop under the new Pope.”
(Zind) At times the cathedral reverberated with music, at other times it was eerily quiet as the rituals of the episcopacy were performed.
(Montalvo) “Do you resolve to preach the Gospel of Christ with constancy and fidelity?”
(Matano) “I do.”
(Zind) Presiding over the ordination was Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Vatican’s Papal Nuncio in Washington.
In the most solemn part of the ceremony, the Litany of Saints was recited as Matano lay prostrate before Montalvo.
(Ordination) Litany of the Saints.
(Zind) Then as Matano knelt, the nearly forty Bishops in attendance lined up to each briefly place their hands on Matano’s head. The Book of Gospels was placed over his head to remind him of his duties and he was anointed with sacred oil. Finally after being presented with a ring, a miter and a pastoral staff, Matano stepped into the congregation as Vermont’s new Bishop.
Archbishop Sean O’Malley, of Boston, introduced Matano as Bishop Sal. Matano stood at the lectern in his tall miter and made a joke about his height.
(Matano) “Do I look a little taller?”
(Zind) Although he sprinkled his remarks with humor, Matano focused on the serious problems facing the Church. He stressed to Vermont’s Catholics, the importance of remaining involved in the Church, especially in difficult times.
(Matano) “But we must be a people of hope. Hope that God is with us and asking us to be active in the Church. I plead with those estranged from the church. Please come home!”
(Zind) Matano seemed emotional at times, as he embraced other Bishops and was welcomed by the enthusiastic crowd that filled the cathedral. Following the ordination, Matano greeted well-wishers at a reception at a Burlington hotel.
The atmosphere was decidedly different from the cathedral, but the enthusiasm remained. Jennifer Tosi is principal at St. Monica’s School in Barre. Tosi said she found much to like in her first glimpse of the new Bishop.
(Tosi) “His energy his humor – it’s a welcome addition to our diocese.”
(Zind) Matano will serve as Bishop co-adjutor alongside Bishop Kenneth Angell until Angell’s retirement, sometime after his seventy-fifth birthday in August.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind in Burlington.