Sisters attend installation Mass of new Archbishop

The Archdiocese of St. Louis installed its 10th Archbishop on August 25, 2020, the feast of Saint Louis. Good Shepherd Sisters Mary Catherine Massei and Monica Duong were on hand to witness the ceremony. Sister Mary Catherine attended the installation Mass on behalf of Mid-North America Province Leader Madeleine Munday, RGS. Sister Monica attended on behalf of Sister Pauline Bilbrough, Local Leader for the Sisters at Mason Pointe Care Center.

Installation Mass
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, left, congratulates Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, new Archbishop of St. Louis, at the Mass of Installation. Photo: Lisa Johnston | [email protected]

As he was installed as the new spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski urged people to recall the words of Jesus to love one another in the face of social upheavals caused by the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism and declining civil discourse.

The 62 year-old Archbishop said at his installation Mass, “In the midst of a pandemic, a societal reckoning on the life issue of race relations, an atrophied civic discourse — and yes, the often-sinful polemics we now face within our church — loving one another seems to be a tough thing to do these days. Yet, my friends, we are called to be a people of hope.

“We need only to look at the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’” he continued.

Rozanski told the nearly 500 people in attendance at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis that the iconic Gateway Arch in the city provides us a rich imagery, “for in order for us to live out this fundamental command to love one another it must be carried out in action. We ourselves must be gateways, not gatekeepers; gateways to healing, to evangelization, to mercy, to compassion; gateways to listening with the ears of Jesus.”

Ceremonial symbolism at installation Mass

Billboard welcoming Rozanski
St. Louis Catholic Sisters welcome Archbishop Rozanski to St. Louis.

Sister Mary Catherine had never attended an installation ceremony of this nature. She said she was inspired by the ceremonial symbolism and felt privileged to be there. “The entire ceremony inspired me,” said Sr. Mary Catherine.

“I was grateful for the appreciation expressed to Archbishop Carlson for his years of service as Archbishop of St. Louis, and I was moved by the warm welcome that Archbishop Rozanski received. The rituals that were performed throughout the installation were beautiful to watch,” she said.

“It was the continuity with Jesus that inspired me most. The ceremony displayed the unity between the Pope and his bishops. It’s a sign of unity that dates back to the Apostles when Jesus gave them the command to go out into the world to spread the Good News. For me, this represents the way we are supposed to be living and doing our part in the Kingdom,” she said.

The ceremony for the installation Mass began when Msgr. Dennis Kuruppassery, representing Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis announcing Rozanski’s appointment to St. Louis and relieving him of his responsibilities as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. Rozanski moved across the sanctuary as he displayed the apostolic letter to the entire congregation.

Rozanski with host
Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski celebrates the Liturgy of the Eucharist at his Mass of Installation as the 10th Archbishop of St. Louis on August 25. Photo: Lisa Johnston | [email protected]

Ceremony rituals

Rozanski then received the pallium, a woolen band that the heads of archdioceses wear around their shoulders over their Mass vestments. It is given to an archbishop by the pope as a sign of their unity with the pontiff in ministry to the Catholic faithful. Rozanski then was escorted to the bishop’s chair (cathedra), where the archbishop presides at Mass and other celebrations at the cathedral basilica.

There was a brief exchange at the installation Mass with Robert J. Carlson, who had led the St. Louis Archdiocese since 2009, and named Rozanski as his successor. Carlson handed Rozanski the crozier, the pastoral staff that symbolizes the responsibility of leading all to Christ.

For Rozanski, this appointment moved him from one of the smaller dioceses in the United States to one of the larger archdioceses with some 505,000 Catholics worshipping in 182 parishes. Geographically, the archdiocese comprises St. Louis and 10 Missouri counties, covering an area larger than 5,900 square miles, roughly twice the size of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Diocese from where Rozanski came.

At a news conference in St. Louis in June, Carlson told an audience of staff, clergy and reporters: “You are receiving from the Holy Father a true man of God. Pope Francis is appointing someone who knows the joy of the Gospel. He has a zeal for evangelization and is known throughout the Northeast, from Baltimore to Boston, for his work with peoples of all colors, all creeds.”

Always be humble

Rozanski seated
Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski acknowledged the congregation after displaying the mandate appointing him Archbishop of St. Louis. Photo: Lisa Johnston | [email protected]

On a personal level, when asked how he would describe himself, Rozanski responded, “The happiest day of my life was the day of my ordination as a priest. And the happiest years of my life were when I served in parishes. I am a parish priest.”

Asked how his family members, including his parents, Alfred and Jean, and his brothers, Kenneth and Albert, responded to his elevation to archbishop, he shared his mother’s comment: “I told you this when you were named an auxiliary bishop, and I told you this when you were installed as bishop of Springfield and I am telling you this again: Don’t get a big head. Always be humble.”

This story is a composite of original writing and edited news reports from various sources. Written, compiled and edited by Jeanette McDermott, Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America and Editor of Items of Interest. Photos by Lisa Johnson, St. Louis Review, a publication of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

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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