WASHINGTON D.C. January 5, 2001. Succeeding the retired Cardinal James Hickey, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick officially took canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Washington during an evening prayer service Wednesday evening at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C. The following day, he celebrated his installation as the new archbishop of Washington during a Mass yesterday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The solemn vesper service -- which was not open to the public -- was the first opportunity for the new archbishop to meet and pray with clergy serving in the archdiocese. In addition to the priests of the archdiocese, others attending the service included permanent deacons of the archdiocese, and representatives of men and women religious communities serving in the archdiocese.
Yesterday afternoon a special Mass was offered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Due to limited space, attendance at the Mass was by invitation only, but EWTN televised the event to millions. Those in attendance were cardinals, bishops, ecumenical representatives, and five representatives from each parish in the Archdiocese, as well as government and diplomatic dignitaries plus ethnic community representatives.
The 70-year-old archbishop, who had previously served the
Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, in referring to the recent, bitterly contested
elections, Archbishop McCarrick said, "There is little that
one can say except that we are blessed to be in this great
country where differences of opinion and great divergences
as to the interpretations of laws ... have not created what
could easily have happened in so many other lands. Here the
rule of law, thank God, truly exists."
The Archbishop said his top priority will the recruitment
of new priests and the establishment of new parishes in
rapidly expanding areas of Maryland. He said he had no
intention of becoming a liaison between the Church and the
federal government, although there are "many Catholics in
government to whom I will preach. I preach to everybody. We
should all be responsible. We should all work together ...
to promote the values we find in the Gospel."
Archbishop McCarrick, who many believe is a front runner, along with Archbishop Edward Egan of New York, for a red biretta in the upcoming Consistory, becomes the 5th Archbishop of this See that was created in 1973. In fact, the first to be installed as Archbishop of Washington D.C. was Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, presently the Major Penitentiary for the Apostolic Penitentiary.
Archbishop McCarrick will celebrate Mass for parishioners in several parishes throughout the archdiocese for those who were not able to attend his installation.
(Part of this was gleaned from CWN and part from the Diocesan publication the "Catholic Standard.")
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