The papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, representing Pope Francis in installing Archbishop Leonard Paul Blair, STD, as the 13th bishop and the 5th archbishop of Hartford today, the Constitution State.
The Archdiocese of Hartford is made up of three counties with more than 700,000 Catholics worshiping in 213 parish churches. As a diocese it was created on 28 November 1843 and elevated to be an archdiocese on 6 August 1953.
Paraphrasing the Nuncio, the season of Advent is a fresh beginning for a new journey of the people of God guided by the Good Shepherd. We pray that God will keep us firm in faith, joyful in hope and active in charity.
Archbishop Leonard Paul Blair, who spent 10 years in Toledo until now, generously accepted the work to be a new shepherd in Hartford, Connecticut.
Pope Francis writes to Archbishop Blair saying, that he is elected the new metropolitan archbishop of Hartford following what Jesus Christ exhorted Saint Peter to do, “feed my sheep.” Now walking in the path of St Peter Blaire is to have zeal for the flock, reading and hearing the voice of the Master in order to nourish this local part of God’s Kingdom in the same manner.
In his homily, Archbishop Blair said some things we could keep in mind,
memory: we are given the grace of memory of the Lord’s presence, of one’s personal journey, of how the Lord sought us out, and of our family. “I have seen much, learned, fear the Lord, for the Lord is our hope” (Sirach). Memory is at the service of mission.
mission: the installation of a bishop in the local church is lived in communion with the Church of Rome, and with all the baptized. Our mission is about the sharing of the Good News with others, it is a work of evangelization according to St Peter’s letter in which we read about the baptized who are called to a holy priesthood; that what we have been given is what we have received from the Lord. Our mission is to show the light of Christ to the world. Our faith is not about self preservation: be salt for the world, be an active member of the priesthood of the faithful lived in joy.
ministry: quoting Pope Francis who said that the Church is a field hospital where the Holy Spirit is active in each one of us; the struggle today has a lot of spiritual darkness, disorientation, and isolation; tenderness is absent. Our spiritual lack is a result of a flattering of the world, or its stress, a lack of care lived in mercy. Ministry is an expression of a life lived in holiness and hope. Ministry is service of the Gospel for all people.
We need to work on conversion, sinners who love much because they are loved first by the Lord. Are we witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ in concrete ways?
The crosier with which Blair is installed belonged to Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon, the 5th bishop of Hartford who served 1879-1893.
Five cardinals are present for the Mass today, along with other bishops, priests, deacons, religious and the great laity of the archdiocese.
May Saint Joseph’s courage and tenderness be with us, and pray for us.