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 | Katherine Long)
By Tom Maguire | Associate editor
An Italian vibe meshed cheerfully with the Latin and the English on Aug. 8 at the ordination of Bishop Douglas J. Lucia.
“Molto, molto grazie [Thanks very much],” the new bishop told the packed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.
Archdiocese of New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said, “Viva, Bishop Lucia”; and Frances Kriese, from Holy Family Parish in Fairmount, offered a “Buona fortuna [a te],” which means “Good luck to you.”
Bishop Lucia projected humility and gratitude and also a flair for drama — suddenly putting on an orange zucchetto (cap) in honor of Syracuse University’s teams.
The bishop, 56, is young enough to excite the people of the diocese, said Julie Miller, a member of the Ordination Choir that brought at least one comparison to the sound of angels.
“I think it’s going to rejuvenate the diocese — that’s what youth does,” Miller said.
Cardinal Dolan detected various sentiments in the cathedral that glowed with interior lighting; with rain outside, the stained glass windows stayed flat and darkish.
The cardinal cited the “ever-consoling company” of the faithful throughout the Diocese of Syracuse and the “supernatural sentiment of faith,” and he noted the “renowned and rightly proud church of Syracuse.”
Very proud to be playing the Roosevelt-Schantz Organ for the ordination Mass was Guest Organist Dominic Fiacco, 14, of the village of Poland in the southwestern Adirondack foothills. He shared organist duties for the Mass with Alan Lynch, the cathedral’s music director.
Dominic performs at other Central New York churches too. He has also given recitals at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and three months ago at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Asked what playing for the new bishop’s installation meant to him, Dominic said: “This is probably one of the most special ones because you know the archbishop of New York is coming, a whole ton of bishops are coming, this will be on EWTN, and there is going to be a thousand people here; and it’s just so exciting.”
He played Maurice Durufle’s “Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain,” which he called an “introspective piece”; and, for the postlude, for which he drew applause as people exited, the “Maestoso” section of Symphony No. 3 in C minor by Camille Saint-Saens.
Hailing from the Southern Tier were Robert and Christeenia Cargill, parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Endicott.
“We came here when the cathedral had been rededicated,” Robert said, adding that “it’s good to see the turnout that we have here today.”
Robert is the Endicott parish’s director of faith formation. He described it as a “very social-justice-oriented parish. We have a number of charitable activities going on down there and have a good youth program.”
Interviewed before the ordination, he said it was “probably the only time in our life that we’re actually going to be able to witness the installation of a bishop to the episcopate.”
“Never expected to receive the invitation in the mail,” he said. He added: “We’re supporters of the Hope Appeal, we’re supporters of the cathedral renovation; but other than that I can’t think of any other reason that we would be even on a list to be considered, so, just thankful to be here.”
Asked about his hopes for Bishop Lucia, Robert said: “I pray that he will do as I believe his predecessors have done — to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit to deal with the issues that are in front of him in a manner in which Christ would have dealt with it.”
Herb and Martha Hubert joined the cathedral parish about 25 years ago.
“We’re honored to be here to see the installation of our new bishop,” Herb said. “We look forward to his energy. … He’s very young and very congenial from what I’ve seen, and I haven’t met him in person. But I think the Church needs this energy, and we’re here to support him in any way we can.”
He also praised the cathedral’s rector, Msgr. Neal E. Quartier — “truly an inspiration to this parish.”
Asked for his thoughts on Bishop Lucia’s predecessor, Bishop-emeritus Robert J. Cunningham, Herb said: “Wonderful leader. Very hard-working man; very, very devout; and he did a great job through very turbulent times; wonderful man.”
Regarding the new bishop, Herb said, “We just wish him the best. And I can tell he’s going to do a good job.
Ed Moses, a lawyer for Mackenzie Hughes who does work for the diocese, belongs to St. Patrick’s Parish in Otisco.
“Listening to the new bishop, he seems to be a very regular individual,” Moses said. “I think he’ll be wonderful for our Diocese of Syracuse, and I think he truly … is a people person.”
He added: “I think he’s very genuine, and I think the Church needs a genuine individual,” a description that he applied to Bishop-emeritus Cunningham as well.
Asked what stood out for him in the ordination ceremony, Moses said, “I honestly believe the humbleness of the new bishop. … I think we’ve been privy to that in the Diocese of Syracuse. I go back to Bishop [Joseph T.] O’Keefe.”
Moses loved it when Bishop Lucia popped on the orange zucchetto: “He’s a sports fan, he loves the outdoors. As I say, I think he’s very much a common man and will do a terrific job here in Syracuse.”
As Moses spoke, Dominic’s organ music ended. “A lot of hard work goes into something like this,” Moses said, “and I thought the staff did a wonderful job.”
The Ordination Choir, with dozens of members, had rehearsed for more than three hours both July 31 and Aug. 5, said the alto and retired music teacher who sees Bishop Lucia as a rejuvenating force, Julie Miller.
Joining her in the choir loft, she said, were “a lot of music teachers. … There were music professors, there were music students up there. It was great, our very first rehearsal, it was phenomenal, because you had trained musicians, professionals there singing together.”
She said the song list included five or six tunes before the Mass even started, then all the regular Mass tunes, extra music for the installation of the bishop, and three Communion pieces — “there were a lot of people.”
Singing in Latin, the choir performed “Veni Creator Spiritus” (Come Creator Spirit) for the Rite of Ordination.
“The music was lovely, angelic,” said Holy Family parishioner Kriese, still transfixed as she sat in a pew long after the service had ended.
“It was wonderful seeing His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan here,” she added. “It’s the first time I’ve witnessed an ordination of a bishop.”
Standing out in her mind were the different rituals dealing with the holy Chrism that Cardinal Dolan poured on Bishop Lucia’s head and the presentation of the bishop’s miter and staff.
“Certainly he’s a wonderful preacher,” she said of Bishop Lucia. She views him as a “very humble man and I think he’s kind of awed by all of this right now in his life, and I think he’s going to be working hard to bring our diocese together. …
“I think that certainly one of his goals for the diocese would be to deepen our faith. To deepen our faith in God, through prayer and the sacraments.”
As she lingered in the cathedral, she thought about the ceremony overall:
“Very nicely done, well organized, I thought, with the processions and the incense and the way it flowed.”
Watch the Mass of Ordination and Installation below, courtesy Syracuse Catholic Television.