Bishop Douglas J. Lucia blesses the assembly at the Mass of his ordination and installation as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse Aug. 8. (Sun photo | Chuck Wainwright)


By Catholic Sun staff

Despite cloudy skies outside, there was plenty of light inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Aug. 8 as Bishop Douglas J. Lucia was ordained and installed as the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse.

More than 20 bishops celebrated the Mass, including Ordaining Prelate Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Principal Co-Consecrating Bishops Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop Emeritus of Syracuse, and Terry R. LaValley of Ogdensburg; and Syracuse native Archbishop Borys Gudziak, who was recently enthroned as the Archbishop-Metropolitan for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

They were joined by more than 25 seminarians, more than 70 deacons, and more than 180 priests, including Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the U.S.

Some 700 religious, lay, and ecumenical representatives made up the joyful assembly.

Following the greeting by Cardinal Dolan, Msgr. Timothy Elmer, Vicar General of the Diocese of Syracuse, and Msgr. Richard Kopp, diocesan Vicar for Priests, presented Bishop-elect Lucia to the cardinal for ordination.

Bishop Lucia then presented the Apostolic Letter, the official document from Pope Francis appointing him as Bishop of Syracuse, to the cardinal and the assembly.

Bishop-elect Lucia presents the Apostolic Letter to the assembly. (Sun photo | Katherine Long)

Msgr. Erbi, before reading the English translation of the letter, offered words of thanks to Bishop Cunningham for his years of service and of congratulations and gratitude to the bishop-elect.

“Your name, Lucia, has its origins in the [Italian] word for ‘light’ and can be understood even as a gentle light,” he said. He quoted Pope John Paul II’s words in his apostolic exhortation Pastores Gregis: “Only by the light and consolation born of the Gospel can a Bishop succeed in keeping his own hope alive and in nourishing the hope of those entrusted to his pastoral care.”

With these sentiments in mind, “we express our confidence that Bishop-elect Lucia, as he faithfully teaches, sanctifies, and governs in the name of the Lord, will be for the clergy, religious, and laity entrusted to his pastoral care an authentic servant of the Gospel and an effective herald of Christ Jesus, our hope, radiating his gentle light over the people of God in Syracuse,” Msgr. Erbi said.

The first reading, Isaiah 61:1-3, was proclaimed by David J. Lucia, the bishop-elect’s brother. The second reading, Acts 3:1-10, was proclaimed by Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, Major Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown. The Scripture passage tells the story of “the crippled beggar” who is healed through Jesus. The apostle Peter says to the man, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk” (Acts 3:6). It is the passage from which Bishop Lucia’s episcopal motto, “In the Name of Jesus,” is drawn.

The Gospel reading, Matthew 5:13-16, was proclaimed by Deacon Daniel E. Caughey, a Syracuse seminarian. The Scripture’s focus on light again referenced the bishop-elect’s last name: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.’”

The Rite of Ordination began with the singing of “Veni Creator Spiritus,” (“Come Creator Spirit”).

Cardinal Dolan offered the homily, telling Bishop-elect Lucia that in a special way, he is called to be “Christ in our midst” to a Church “that can be tempted at times to be weak” and to “proclaim to us the truth that St. Peter spoke to that beggar.”

Cardinal Dolan also drew inspiration from the bishop-elect’s last name: “Jesus is the light of the world and he reminds us in this afternoon’s Gospel that we too are lights of the world. You, my brother, will now carry the crosier, which I’ll have the privilege of giving to you in a moment. But you’ll carry not only a crosier. From now on you carry a lantern, the light of Christ. You will bring us that light of Christ.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan questions Bishop-elect Lucia about his resolve to uphold the faith and to fulfill the responsibilities of the episcopal ministry. (Sun photo | Chuck Wainwright)

Following an ancient custom of the Church, Cardinal Dolan then questioned Bishop-elect Lucia about his resolve to uphold the faith and to fulfill the responsibilities of the episcopal ministry.

During the Litany of Supplication, Bishop-elect Lucia prostrated himself on the floor of the Cathedral over the crest of the diocese; all present kneeled and joined in prayer. Several special saints were added to the litany at the bishop-elect’s request, including Syracuse’s own St. Marianne Cope and St. Luke, who is his Confirmation patron.

Then, in silence, Cardinal Dolan imposed his hands on the head of Bishop-elect Lucia, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit. Co-consecrators Bishops Cunningham and LaValley followed, along with all the other bishops present.

The Book of Gospels, held by Deacons John Drollette of Ogdensburg and Scott Harris of Syracuse, was placed over the head of Bishop-elect Lucia, a sign of the power of God’s word.

Cardinal Dolan and the bishops then prayed the Prayer of Ordination, which asks, in part, “Grant, O Father, knower of all hearts, that this, your servant, whom you have chosen for the office of Bishop may shepherd your holy flock. Serving you night and day, may he fulfill before you without reproach the ministry of the High Priesthood; so that, always gaining your favor, he may offer up the gifts of your holy Church.”

Bishop Lucia’s head was anointed with holy Chrism, signifying the full share in the priesthood of Christ that he has received through the Laying on of Hands and the Prayer of Ordination.

Bishop Lucia was presented with the Book of Gospels and commissioned to evangelize with all patience and sound teaching.

He was then given the signs of his officeThe ring, symbolizing the bishop’s fidelity to his nuptial bond with the Church, was presented by Sister Mary Anne Heenan, CSJ, Province Director of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The miter, a sign of his role as herald of truth, was presented by Deacon Thomas Cuskey, Associate Director of Deacon Formation. The crosier (pastoral staff), a sign of his shepherding and governing office, was presented by Father John Manno, head of the diocese’s Presbyteral Council.

Cardinal Dolan then escorted Bishop Lucia to the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, where he took his seat as the eleventh Bishop of Syracuse to thunderous applause from all present.

Bishop Lucia then received the fraternal kiss from Cardinal Dolan and all the other bishops, welcoming him into the College of Bishops.

Following Communion, Bishop Lucia walked through the Cathedral, blessing those gathered.

As the liturgy closed, he offered remarks, thanking his family, brother bishops and priests, all those present, and all those who had a hand in helping organize the day’s celebration.

To his predecessor Bishop Cunningham, Bishop Lucia said, “With a grateful heart I and the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Syracuse salute your dedicated ministry to our diocesan family. We are so grateful that you have chosen to remain here among us, and I know I look forward to your continued service in the Church of Syracuse as our bishop emeritus.”

“For the last 30 years, I have cherished ministering to God’s holy people as a member of the Ogdensburg Diocese and presbyterate,” Bishop Lucia continued. “To them, thank you seems so little, but I will try by converting my thanksgiving into ‘thanks-living’ for the countless blessings I have received from this most precious portion of the People of God. And just so you know, they have tried to train me properly for my new role. They even sent me with the proper attire…”

Bishop Lucia wears zuchetto in Syracuse orange, a custom-made gift presented to him at a Farewell Mass in Ogendensburg’s St. Mary’s Cathedral July 27. (Sun photo | Chuck Wainwright)

Bishop Lucia then donned a custom-made zucchetto in Syracuse University orange, which had been presented to him at a Farewell Mass in Ogendensburg’s St. Mary’s Cathedral July 27. Amid laughs and applause, he assured the assembly that he’d also be getting a green zucchetto, a nod to the colors of Syracuse’s Le Moyne College.

The bishop said it was his “humble privilege to be called to serve you and to walk with you on the journey of faith, hope, and love.”

“As you have heard since the day of my appointment as Bishop of Syracuse, I sum up this journey with the words, ‘In the Name of Jesus.’ This is the mission as a successor to the apostles I have been given and that together we share. It’s about letting our neighbors, especially those who may feel they are on the fringe, unwanted or forgotten, see and know the tender compassion of our God through each of us. Together, what we are about is ‘Radiating Christ’ and reminding ourselves and our fellow citizens of the holy ground on which all life stands from conception to natural death.

“Today we begin a new chapter in the ongoing faith story of the Catholic Church in Central New York. So now let’s turn the page with eager anticipation, knowing even now that it is the hand of the Lord who feeds us and it is He who answers all our needs. In the words of St. Dominic, whose feast this is, ‘We must sow the seed and not hoard it.’”

This story will be updated.


Watch the Mass of Ordination and Installation below, courtesy Syracuse Catholic Television.

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