HABEMUS EPISCOPUM! We have a Bishop!
We have been filled with anticipation for the ordination since the day he was named. Honestly, I was so excited yesterday I was giddy.
We all were. Upon getting a glimpse of all the Bishops and their miters, -all 25 of them- Max turned to me with big eyes and said, “It IS a party!”
“I will go up to the altar of God, to the God who gave me life”
And every good party has a superb guest list. In this case, a huge crowd of priests from all over. So many that there weren’t enough seats for them. Whoops!
The sight of them all reduced loads of us to tears.
I cried some more during the Lakota Azilya rite. It was the drum and the Lakota song that made my throat ache.
We loved the many times during the ordination that the crowd burst into thunderous applause out of sheer joy. After the papal representative had read the words from the Holy Father calling for Monsignor Gruss’ ordination, the Chancellor took the proclamation and held it aloft for all to see. First the bishops, then the priests and when she raised it above her head for the crowd, we came unglued.
Then Archbishop Neinstadt burst into song at the beginning and end of his beautiful homily. True story.
“No greater love is there than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”
The book of the gospels was laid open above his head as all the bishops prayed the prayer of consecration. “This ancient ritual is a reminder to the new bishop that he accepts the yoke of the gospel of which he is called to proclaim and teach.” Again with the tears! I could only nod while Ellie said over and over, “Mom! Book on his head! Mom! Look Bishop with a book on his head! Mom!”
After the rites of ordination, Archbishop Nienstedt stood from the chair, the chair the very first bishop of our diocese used, and led the newly ordained Bishop Gruss, eighth Bishop of Rapid City, to the seat that was now his. The crowd went wild! A Bishop was seated! Thanks be to God!
“You spread a table in my sight, Your saving grace bestowing; And O what joy and true delight From Your pure chalice flowing!”
“Go to the world! Go struggle, bless and pray; the nights of tears give way to joyous day. As servant Church, you follow Christ’s own way. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Welcome, Bishop Gruss. So glad you’re our Father. Thanks be to God indeed!