When Bishop Douglas J. Lucia is ordained and installed as the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse Aug. 8, it will be the first ordination of a bishop for the diocese since Bishop James M. Moynihan was ordained and installed in 1995.

“It’s been 24 years since we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the richness of this ritual,” said Sister Laura Bufano, CSJ, Co-Chair of the diocesan Ordination/Installation Planning Committee and the person responsible for coordinating all aspects of planning the ordination liturgy.

Sister Laura offered Syracuse Catholic Television an overview of the highlights of the celebration; excerpts of that interview appear here and the full video is can be found below.


The celebration begins with the Procession of Dignitaries. With the Knights of Columbus and St. John forming an honor guard at the entrance to the Cathedral, the procession will include Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights and Dames of Malta, and Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Following these groups will be seminarians, deacons, and priests from the Dioceses of Syracuse and Ogdensburg and, representing the papal nuncio, Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the U.S. The bearers of the insignia will precede Bishop-elect Lucia, who will be followed by Principal Co-Consecrating Bishops Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse and Bishop Terry R. LaValley of Ogdensburg. Ordaining Prelate Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, will be the last to enter.

Mass will begin as it usually does with the Greeting; it will be followed by the Presentation of the Elect. Msgr. Timothy Elmer, Vicar General of the Diocese of Syracuse, and Msgr. Richard Kopp, diocesan Vicar for Priests, will lead Bishop-elect Lucia to Cardinal Dolan and present him for ordination.

The Apostolic Letter will then be read. The Apostolic Letter is the official document from Pope Francis appointing Father Lucia as the Bishop of Syracuse. Msgr. Erbi, the representative of the Papal Nuncio, will read the letter. After the reading of the letter, all present will give their assent to the appointment by responding, “Thanks be to God,” and by applause.

The Introductory Rites continue with the Confiteor, the Lord Have Mercy, Gloria, and Collect.

The Liturgy of the Word follows. The first reading, Isaiah 61:1-3, will be proclaimed by David J. Lucia, the bishop-elect’s brother. The second reading, Acts 3:1-10, will be proclaimed by Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, Major Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown. The Gospel reading, Matthew 5:13-16, will be proclaimed by Deacon Daniel E. Caughey, a Syracuse seminarian.

The Rite of Ordination begins after the Gospel, with the singing of “Veni Creator Spiritus,” (“Come Creator Spirit”). The actions of the rite will take place before the assembly, in front of the Cathedral’s main altar.

Cardinal Dolan, as the principal consecrator, will offer the homily. He will address the assembly and Bishop-elect Lucia on the office of bishop within the Church.

 Following an ancient custom of the Church, Cardinal Dolan will then question Bishop-elect Lucia about his resolve to uphold the faith and to fulfill the responsibilities of the episcopal ministry. This is called the Promise of the Bishop-elect.

Cardinal Dolan will then invite all to pray that God will bestow his grace upon Bishop-elect Lucia to provide for the needs of the Church.

During the Litany of  Supplication, Bishop-elect Lucia will lie prostrate on the floor of the Cathedral over the crest of the diocese; all present will kneel and join in prayer for him and for the Church.

Following the litany is one of the most significant moments in the Ordination Rite: the Laying on of Hands. In silence, Cardinal Dolan will impose his hands on the head of Bishop-elect Lucia, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit, the same given by Christ to the apostles. The co-consecrators, Bishops Cunningham and LaValley, and all the other bishops will also impose hands, signifying that the ordination of a bishop is a collegial act of the Order of Bishops, incorporating a new member into their community for the service of the Church.

The Book of Gospels will then be held over the head of Bishop-elect Lucia as a sign of the power of God’s word. This ancient rite, dating back to the fifth or sixth century, signifies the “yoke of the Gospel,” reminding the new bishop that preaching the word of God is the “pre-eminent obligation” of the office of bishop. The Book will be held by Deacons John Drollette of Ogdensburg and Scott Harris of Syracuse.

As the Book is held open, Cardinal Dolan and the bishops join in the Prayer of Ordination. This ancient prayer, used as early as the beginning of the third century for the ordination of a bishop, invokes the power of the Holy Spirit upon the Bishop-elect and recalls the important role of the bishop within the Church.

Bishop Lucia’s head will then be 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.

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

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

Cardinal Dolan will then invite Bishop Lucia to occupy the cathedra, the bishop’s chair.

Bishop Lucia then sets aside his crosier and receives the fraternal kiss from Cardinal Dolan and all the other bishops, welcoming him into the College of Bishops. This concludes the Ordination Rite.

The Mass proceeds as usual, with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The gift bearers will be Mary Batuk, Senior Administrative Assistant at the Chancery; Michele (Mickey) Bruce, Diocesan Archivist; Mary Hallman, Director of the Evangelization Office; Barbara Kane, Parish Life Director of the Parishes of Eastern Broome County; Theresa May, Associate Director of the Western Region Office of Faith Formation; Michael Melara, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities; Joseph Stanton, Sr., Secretary of the Diocesan Pastoral Council; and Barbara Sugar, Principal of Trinity Catholic School in Oswego.

At the conclusion of the Prayer After Communion, Bishop Lucia will be led through the Cathedral; he will bless the people as all sing the “Te Deum” (“God, We Praise You”). After remarks from Bishop Lucia, the Solemn Blessing, and Dismissal, all will joyfully sing, “Lord, You Give the Great Commission” as all process out of the Cathedral.


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