There is a beautiful photo presentation of Friday evening's Episcopal Consecrations here
One can't fittingly explain what the atmosphere was like. The night was perfect. As you can see from the photographs, there was a heavy fog, the Cathedral, as it were, was overshadowed. You couldn't see the spire. It sort of dissolved
into the heavens. And for those running a little late, you couldn't find a seat. It was all quite European.
I think there were over twenty bishops in attendance, including His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell, who was really looking quite weathered. At least a third of Melbourne's priests were there, including our chaplains - and our congregation managed a nice spot of about three pews - to greet our new regional bishop.
It was all quite unreal. The Papal mandates were read - the Holy Father using the Royal 'we'. The Church is so lovable that it is ridiculous! Never more frustrating therefore is the other
situation. Very stupid, very unnecessary, very heartbreaking
. Turning the most splendid ceremonies of the Church into frightful ugliness. That's all I will say about that
The pouring of the oil over the bishops' heads was very moving, and hence the title of this post. I think my favourite prayer of the rite was the 'investiture with ring': "Take this ring, the seal of fidelity. With faith and love protect the Bride of God, His Holy Church
escorted the new Bishops around the Cathedral so that they could give their first blessing. Bishop Costelloe
looked like a beautiful unsuspecting little child, surprised by the sudden acclamation of his friends, and hoisted upon their shoulders. Bishop Elliott looked utterly happy - friends are sure he had tears in his eyes. He stopped for a very brief moment at our pews, and we knelt for the blessings.
Both Bishops reflected themselves magnificently in their first addresses to the people. Bishop Costelloe
related the masses coming to hear Christ - a beautiful image to hear from the pews - and the figure of Our Blessed Mother, and those others throughout Holy Scripture, little, unknown, suddenly chosen and raised to eminence by God - and therefore having to rely totally upon Him - for everything. It was just perfect.
Listening to Bishop Elliott was what I imagine it must have been like to listen to Cardinal Newman, or even perhaps Mgr Knox. He is just like that. I'm sure the address will be published - but it reminded me of the BBC production of 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
' when Aslan
, after having 'risen' from the dead, says something like, "I think it's time for a roar!" Bishop Elliott has chosen for his motto 'Parare vias ejus
'. I think it is very fitting that Bishop Elliott now possesses the Apostolic succession.
A good word to summarise the whole occasion is 'splendid'. Bishops Peter, and Timothy. The Archdiocese of Melbourne is entirely blessed, and I think, the very best Diocese in Australia.