Monday, 13 May 2013

Bishop for a Day

 Consecration at the Mass

Bishop for a day!  And barring a miracle on a stupendous and frightening scale, my only chance!  In fact, I was conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation - a task usually undertaken by the diocesan bishop.  We celebrated the the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion for eleven of our young people in the new manner here in Liverpool Archdiocese.  This means that children aged about nine are Confirmed and receive First Holy Communion at the same Mass with the Parish Priest administering Confirmation. The link with the bishop for Confirmation is that he will be somewhere in the deanery sometime in the next few weeks - and that he consecrated the Chrism, I suppose.  As part of this new scheme, children are to be prepared via family catechesis - ie the emphasis is on parents preparing the children, as they promised at their children's baptism.  In fact, already in this parish over the last few years the parents and other family members have been intimately involved in the preparation, so there was nothing new in that part for us.  My special appreciation goes to the children and their families for their kind gift of thanks to Father after the Mass.

As to taking the place of the bishop and confirming "en masse" - it worked well for us and we managed to create a sense of occasion for the children and families even without an episcopal presence.  

(And before anyone runs to the comments box - yes, in fact we have no Archbishop in Liverpool Archdiocese at the moment as the See is vacant after Pope Benedict, on the penultimate day of his  reign, accepted Archbishop Patrick Kelly's resignation.  Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams is administering the Archdiocese during the Sede Vacante.)

Just a note of interest.  The families and young people seemed to get a great deal from Mass celebrated as well as we possibly could in our little church. Mass was ad orientem; the Introit, Offertory and Communion were sung in Latin, as was the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei.  Our numbers - eleven - might be considered small but then the preparation is all conducted through the parish rather than the school.  Those completing these Sacraments of Initiation are all practising the Faith - not just here for the big day and never to be seen again (a phenomenon which many regular parishioners and me as well, have found very depressing and frustrating in the past).

 The Candidates with their Sponsors

A number of our altar servers were also receiving the Sacraments.

It was a little difficult trying to get the Leyland 11 around the cake to cut it!


Anonymous said...

Warmest congratulations on what was obviously a great day for candidates and parish.

Dominic MacCarthy said...

Is a bishop allowed to delegate nearly all the Confirmations in the diocese to his priests in this manner? The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation, the priest only extraordinary.

In Salford there was special permission from Rome for a similar scheme. Shouldn't the same have been obtained for Liverpool? What if all your Confirmations are technically illicit because of this? Or even invalid? Discuss!

The Confirmation was the only time most youngsters ever saw the bishop in a liturgical role. Under your new system, the chances are that many of them will never see the bishop in a liturgical role.

What will Archbishop -emeritus Kelly's successor think of this odd scheme he has been landed with? Why was it introduced in the very last year of the old Archbishop's tenure? Queering the pitch for his successor?

GOR said...

Bishop for a day, eh Father?

Well now that you have episcopal experience…

Calling Archbishop Mennini…


Rachel said...

I used to live in the Salford Diocese,it was the then Bishop Kelly(now retired Archbishop of Liverpool)who made those changes and then went on to do similiar in Liverpool,I dont know how he was allowed to instigate the changes!!! Confirmation should be left at the age it is and with a Bishop officiating,if not him then a senior priest in the said Diocese.