Ordination of bishops inspires Good Shepherd Sisters

Four Good Shepherd Sisters from the Baltimore Community attended the ordination to the Order of Bishop of The Most Reverend Adam J. Parker and the Most Reverend Mark E. Brennan. Both priests became Auxiliary Bishops of Baltimore on January 19, 2017, in the Cathedral of Mary our Queen, Baltimore.

Bishop Parker and his parents are long time friends of the Baltimore Community. He celebrated Mass in the Community’s chapel for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a number of years. His father volunteered at St. Joseph’s Residence and inspired his friend to refurbish the tabernacle in the chapel. Mrs. Parker often attended Mass with the Sisters when her son presided.

“Bishop Parker is a very pastoral priest. I believe he will make a wonderful bishop. He is sociable, humble, caring and gives great homilies. I will keep him in my prayers,” said Sr. Frances Altavilla.

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At the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, The Most Reverend Mark E. Brennan, seated in the chair at left, and The Most Reverend Adam J. Parker second from left, listen to Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, right, red the papal bull. Today was their Ordination to the Order of Bishop. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)

Sr. Frances found the entire ceremony exciting to witness and said that when everyone sang the Litany of the Saints she recalled her own perpetual profession. It brought back special memories for her. Like Sr. Frances, the other
Sisters who attended the ordination felt a sense of awe at what they experienced.

Sr. Mary Carol McClenon said, “I have been to the installation of a bishop before, but never to the consecration of a bishop. Besides being a very moving ecclesial experience, I found the ritual itself fascinating, full of historical references and symbolism.”

Laying of hands

Sr. Patricia Marie Barnette said, “The ordination was beautiful and inspiring in every way.”

She said the most important part for her was when Archbishop Lori and Cardinals O’Brien and Wuerl laid hands upon the heads of Bishops-elect Parker and Brennan as a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. All other bishops present did the same.

Time ceased and brought me to the anointing of the apostles and how this tradition carries on through the centuries.

As Archbishop Lori and the other bishops prayed the solemn prayer of consecration, two deacons held open the Book of Gospels over each Bishop-elect’s head as a sign of the enriching power of God’s Word in their lives.

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Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Adam J. Parker and Monsignor Mark E. Brennan auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in December. (Photo by Kevin J. Parks/ Courtesy Catholic Review Media)

“Time ceased and brought me to the anointing of the apostles and how this tradition carries on through the centuries. The apostolic succession brings us back to Christ as head of the Church,” Sr. Patricia Marie said.

“I love tradition. So many of the readings and actions connect us all over the world and across the span of time. May God bless them both as they work for the salvation of souls in a powerful way,” she said.

Sr. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley said “Our community was greeted by many old friends, including the pastor of our parish church and the former pastor who now resides in Rome and was present to assist Bishop Parker. Being a relatively new member of the Community I did not know most of the priests, bishops and Sisters that gave us warm greetings.

The Sisters arrived to the ordination early to ensure a good seat and parking space. Hundreds of others had the same idea. “We were lucky that we had been to ordinations of bishops before because it was so crowded many of us could not see what was happening in the sanctuary. I was able to step out of the pew and had a good view of the ceremony from the back of the cathedral,” said Sr. Gayle. 

Ordination radiantly joyful

“It looked like all of the seminarians for the Archdiocese of Baltimore were there, and way more deacons than I ever thought existed,” Sr. Mary Carol said. Then a massive number of priests followed by bishops and finally, the bishops-elect, the Cardinals and the Archbishop. They filled about half of one side of the Cathedral – and it’s not a small Cathedral,” she said.

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The Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, center, was the Principal Celebrant and Consecrator for The Ordination to the Order of Bishop for The Most Reverend Adam J. Parker, left, and the Most Reverend Mark E. Brennan, second from left at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. He congratulates them on the altar after they are ordained. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun)

Archbishop of Baltimore, William E Lori served as the Principal Celebrant and Consecrator. Two Cardinals with local ties served as Co-consecrators: Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; and Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, formerly Archbishop of Baltimore and now Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem (an historic and international group of people who commit themselves to helping Christians in Jerusalem).

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was also present, along with at least 20 other bishops. Sr. Mary Carol said one of her favorite parts of the ceremony occurred near the end.

“Following the Prayer after Communion, the new bishops, with their miters and croziers, processed throughout the church extending their blessing to all. They appeared to be radiantly joyful. The choir and congregation were singing a familiar version of the Te Deum that is, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. It had five verses! Who knew? I had only ever heard three verses before,” she said.

All of the Sisters left the event feeling uplifted and inspired. Sr. Gayle said, “We returned home happy and exhausted.”
Sr. Frances said, “This beautiful event was like a spiritual renewal for me as a Sister of the Good Shepherd. Thank You, God, for this opportunity.”

Bishop Brennan, who is originally from the Washington, D.C. diocese, is assigned to the Baltimore area, so at some point he and the Baltimore Community will connect. The Sisters say they are looking forward to getting to know him.

You can read more stories about Good Shepherd Sisters in our monthly newsletter Items of Interest.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com