After searching the Internet numerous times for a link to the text of Bishop Matano’s installation Mass homily and coming up each time with either no results or something else, I decided to transcribe the homily for our reading, reflection and edification.
I thank Rosaria Zarcone who had recorded the EWTN Cathedrals Across America broadcast of our new bishop’s installation so that I could take the time to review the homily line by line so that interested readers can now benefit from the first homily of the newly installed 9th Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.
I take responsibility for any errors in the text whether in the form of omissions, additions, or typos.
The full text is available as a Word doc (here) and is also included below in this post.
Peace and Joy,
Dominick Anthony Zarcone, your brother forever
BISHOP SALVATORE R. MATANO’S INSTALLATION MASS HOMILY JANUARY 3, 2014
In the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
On this very joyous day, the first sentiments that must be expressed are those of very sincere gratitude. Gratitude to all of you gathered today in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the Mother Church of our Diocese and to those throughout the Diocese of Rochester and beyond are united with us in spirit and in prayer through television and other media.
I am particularly grateful to our late Holy Father of Venerable Memory, His Holiness John Paul II who named me to the episcopal college and entrusted to my pastoral care the Diocese of Burlington.
To His Holiness, our Holy Father Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI, in whose pontificate I began my apostolic mission, to him I express my continued admiration and esteem for the guidance he selflessly gave to the Church, emphasizing a theology and an ecclesiology of continuity. A theology that builds and does not destroy. An ecclesiology that appreciates the contributions of every age that does not disdain the past which through the hard labors of others paved the way for the future.
I was ordained to the episcopacy only one hour after the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI was elected to the See of Peter April 19, 2005. So you see it was indeed a memorable day. So I ask, how can I make today memorable? So I looked to the heavens and I said let there be snow.
Certainly we offer deep gratitude for the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis who guides our beloved Church with such sincerity in fulfillment of Christ’s mandate Feed My Sheep.
To His Holiness Pope Francis I I pledge my complete and total loyalty and filial devotion.
I express my deep appreciation for the years of service that I was privileged to have at the Apostolic Nuniature in Washington. My first term under the guidance of the then Archbishop Augustino Cacciavalon. In my second term of service under the direction of His Excellency Gabriel Montalvo who ordained me to the order of bishop; it is his miter that I wear today.
Archbishop Montalvo taught me the essential ingredients of being a good bishop: to love God, to love His Church, and to willingly and lovingly serve his people, never to lose patience but serve in charity. To have received the gift of the episcopacy through Archbishop Montalvo’s hands is a grace I shall always treasure.
It is particularly an honor to have His Excellency Archbishop Vigano present today as the personal representative of our Holy Father Pope Francis. You see, there must be a special gift given to Apostolic Nuncios who are able to be anywhere at any time regardless of weather conditions.
Of course, I am most grateful to Bishop Clark who has so warmly welcomed me to this Diocese in his usual kind manner. Bishop Clark has served the Diocese for many, many years. Your Excellency you are a true canonical icon of stability in office. May the Lord continue to bless our esteemed Bishop Emeritus.
To Bishop Cunningham I offer gratitude for your service as the Apostolic Administrator during this interregnum. As a brother bishop, you also have greeted me with fraternal solicitude and conscientiously you guided our diocese while the See of Rochester up to this time has been vacant.
And to the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who honor us by their presence today, I am most grateful. I am very grateful for those who wanted to be with us on this day but whose plans for transport were interrupted by the weather. I know you unite with us in spirit and in prayer.
This gratitude quite naturally extends in a special way to the priests both from this Diocese and those beyond its borders. I have lived the priesthood for 42 years. I don’t look too bad do I for those years?
And when I look at you my brother priests, today, I still stand in awe of your vocation. As I did as a young boy in my home parish Saint Ann’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island so many years ago where Monsignor Yachiavarchi taught me Ad Deum Qui Laetificat Juventutem Meam.
How very essential my brother priests is your ministry in the Church. For through your hands the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, the sacraments administered, and the presence of Christ is made real in the lives of the faithful. My brothers in Christ, today I renew my gratitude for your priestly service.
I thank the senior Fathers of this Diocese, while perhaps relieved of administration continue to serve the faithful by celebrating Holy Mass and the sacraments. In thanking all of you, I ask the faithful of this Diocese to pray daily for vocations to the priesthood and to support this vocation with the intensity it so rightly deserves.
Let us remember that without the priesthood there is no Eucharist and without the Eucharist the Catholic Church loses its foundation, its purpose, identity and mission. The ministry of the priesthood in the history of the Church has been so beautifully supported by the countless numbers of religious sisters and brothers who have served the Church in consecrated life with a dedication that is indescribable. I am so happy to have here today members of religious communities.
I was educated in Grammar School by the religious Sisters of Mercy and in High School by the De La Salle Christian Brothers who both very well prepared me for college and post graduate studies.
The diminished numbers of religious is a great loss for the Church and with their reduced numbers we are realizing more than ever how very valuable they have been not only in these United States but throughout the world.
We can only pray that a renewed appreciation for religious life will blossom and the Church once again will be the beneficiary of the many apostolates of these outstanding consecrated religious women and men.
To the Permanent Deacons who in recent times have taken on increased responsibility for service to the Church, I am also grateful knowing that many of you have families and secular jobs. I appreciate your willingness to serve this Diocese with true loyalty and affection for the Church. But in kindness and humility, I remind you who are married the first vocation is marriage. Love your wives, love your families and be present to them. For in doing that you are a great witness to the Church.
I can never forget and will be eternally grateful for the Diocese of Burlington covering Vermont. Your deep faith, kindness and support are etched in my heart. Wherever I go, your spirit will be with me. How I wish I could name you all because you are all so very important.
And now you the people of Rochester have become my family and this Diocese is now my home. Many in this Diocese have worked countless hours to prepare for this day. Thank you again and yet again.
To those representing other faith communities, I thank you for your prayerful support and presence today. Bishop Clark has told me of your cooperative spirit.
I acknowledge the presence of distinguished civic leaders and I pray we can work together for the welfare of our people.
I thank the Lord for the gift of my parents now with the Lord and my loving family who pray for me and support me.
Now what remains for the 9th Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester? Well for one thing, if this snow keeps up I will need an extension on my miter so you can see me coming.
What are some of his thoughts? I have tried to give you a glimpse of who I am by the acknowledgments that have preceded at this point. To be sure any bishop today faces a Church existing in a culture that has changed so drastically over the last decade.
How very different the world was in those 1950’s regarded by some as the golden age experiencing peace after a world war and a certain tranquility pervaded the land. The Catholic Church had the ability and the resources to extend her educational, social and charitable mission throughout every Diocese and Archdiocese with many vocations to the priesthood and religious life to fill her ranks in managing these agencies of mercy. On the world scale, the apostolates and ministries of the Catholic Church were both recognized and appreciated.
Following upon this period the Church was still to be purified, drawn closer to her bridegroom not only by the insights and vision of the Second Vatican Council, but also through a real experience of the cross that would be felt in the challenges, the heartaches and the scandals that would follow in the years to come.
Her members for a time would be confused; at other times upset or anxious. Some would grow angry; others indifferent. The faith, our Catholic faith, would continue to navigate through these turbulent seas and here we are today.
Oh how very easy it is to believe in the Church when she is experiencing unprecedented growth basking in the accomplishments of her saints and her voice echoing the teachings of her doctors and scholars is heard and her message readily accepted by the faithful.
But when she is challenged even suffering and humbled, strong is the faith and admirable the commitment of those who remain faithful to her who see in her Christ the cornerstone who still hear his Word and experience his presence when proclaimed and celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. Yes, strong is the faith of those who can proclaim that Christ is Risen but can still accept the challenge COME FOLLOW ME linked to that greater challenge IF YOU WISH TO BE MY DISCIPLE TAKE UP YOUR CROSS. This is the faith that I see in You, my brothers and sisters.
So whether the Church lives in a prosperous age or in an age of trial and persecution, she must never turn her eyes away from the cross and the sacrifice it signifies. In this Christmas season we know all too well that the wood (of Christ) in Bethlehem would become the wood of Golgotha.
Saint Paul reminded his community in Corinth CONTINUALLY WE CARRY ABOUT IN OUR BODIES THE DYING OF JESUS SO THAT IN OUR BODIES THE LIFE OF JESUS MAY BE REVEALED. WHILE WE LIVE WE ARE CONSTANTLY BEING DELIVERED TO DEATH FOR JESUS’ SAKE SO THAT THE LIFE OF JESUS MAY BE REVEALED IN OUR MORTAL FLESH.
And to those he served in Galatia he writes, MAY I NEVER BOAST OF ANYTHING BUT THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. This identity with the cross is the foundation of our commitment to the Church; a fidelity that does not falter in times of difficulty; a dedication that does not seek glory and praise. But one that is characterized by humility, understanding, compassion and forgiveness recognizing then this unity of charity and forgiveness; the two planks of the cross that frame the Christian life.
We as a people of faith live out the mandate of the Gospel with the most Holy Name of JESUS written in our hearts and reverenced by our lives. The faithful of this Diocese, you who are here today and the many who join us through television, have given admirable testimony over the years of your belief in Jesus Christ and in His Holy Church. You the faithful who follow the Lord, possess a faith that burns within you with that same intensity as it did among those of the new born Church who as Saint Irenaeus put it “lived when the echo of the apostles’ preaching and teaching was still audible and Christ’s blood was still warm and faith burned with a living flame in the heart of the believer”.
This faith , this love for Christ’s holy bride, the Church, this desire to serve your brothers and sisters in charity is what binds a Bishop to his people as we move forward to that unity in faith; IN UNITATEM FIDEI.
Now since my appointment as the Bishop of Rochester, many have reminded me of the challenges I face as I live to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and the teachings of his Church at a time when many are not prepared to receive this teaching or may even have rejected it.
It was particularly interesting during this Christmas season to receive Christmas cards in great numbers. And they began MERRY CHRISTMAS BISHOP MATANO AND WELCOME. NOW LET ME TELL YOU WHAT YOU MUST DO. And with the gift of the computer the tomes began.
But allow me to remind all of the members of the Catholic Church in Rochester, I’m not the only Catholic in this Diocese. I have challenges (but) then we all have challenges. It is the responsibility of every baptized Catholic to fulfill faithfully what Christ asks of us as his followers. Our response begins with the most important responsibility. Yes, an obligation but a privileged opportunity offered to Christ himself in love: TO ATTEND MASS FAITHFULLY EVERY WEEKEND.
Here we find the strength, the reason to proclaim enthusiastically and lovingly the person of Jesus Christ. To willingly and purposely to ignore the personal invitation of Christ to be with him and his invitation to partake of his very body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion is in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church VERY GRAVE MATTER.
Let’s think about that. If I can say no to the invitation of Jesus who himself declares IF YOU DO NOT EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD YOU WILL NOT HAVE LIFE IN YOU. If we can dismiss this solemn declaration of Jesus then how easy it becomes to say no to any person or institution and to break or dishonor any commitment.
All that we do as a people of faith stems from our attachment to the Most Holy Eucharist. The more we love Jesus Christ, the more we are able to love and care for our brothers and sisters in the family of God; not for the length of time of a program, not for a month or year or of a particular liturgical season, but to care for our brothers and sisters all the time because we love Jesus and he loves them; and he gives them a dignity no one can take away.
The Patron Saint of our Diocese, St. John Fisher, wrote beautifully this Mysterium Fidei explaining that our human intellect is incapable of grasping fully so great a reality. Thus we seek to believe in order to understand, to learn by faith rather than by argument.
My brothers and sisters, our Churches are not museums or mere testimony to the past. They are consecrated houses to the Lord where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated. If they are to remain open, the love for Christ present in the Eucharist must be manifested by those believers who fill its pews.
The participation of the laity in worship is a true sign of hope, a sign of the active presence of Christ among his people. The success of any parish, any institution, school or university depends upon the support of its members and their fidelity and devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.
If we are to have priests needed to serve in our parishes, parishes must foster and encourage priestly vocations. Vocations are nurtured where there is hope, optimism, conviction and deep attachment to the faith in its entirety. No one joins an organization which has no purpose. The teachings of our beloved Church rooted in Jesus Christ testify to the Church’s identity, apostolic mission and purpose. When that which we profess in faith is mitigated, compromised or cast aside, we deprive ourselves of a great gift and a sure foundation for ourselves. And there remains no inspiration to follow Christ either as a priest, religious or committed lay person.
We speak much about love. When we love someone we always tell them the truth. And because we are called to love one another we must tell them the truth of our Catholic Faith.
Yes, brothers and sisters, there are challenges. There is the cross. Let us remember the cross was not a failure but the threshold to hope leading to Eternal Life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of us must proclaim and believe in this hope because I am indeed not the only Catholic in Rochester.
Many have preceded me. Many are present in this Church today. Many are alive and well in our parishes. We have an extraordinary potential to march into the future with hope and joy under the banner of the cross.
I plead with those estranged from the Church. PLEASE COME HOME. This is not the plea of Bishop Matano. This is only his voice echoing the voice of Jesus. COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO FIND LIFE BURDENSOME AND I WILL REFRESH YOU.
I ask parents to take seriously your duty to raise your children in the Catholic faith; the promise you made at the time of their baptism.
The pectoral cross that I am wearing today is the pectoral cross of Bishop Russell Joseph McVinney, 5th Bishop of the Diocese of Providence who confirmed me and was ordained to the episcopacy in 1948. When I tell the confirmation class about this cross I say when I was a young boy I never expected to be a bishop or even a priest but here I am. Then I ask them where will you be so m any years after you are confirmed. Will you still be in a Church wherever you are? Will Christ still be part of your life? Where will you be? Then I tell them when I visit your parishes I expect to see you because baptism and confirmation joined to the Eucharist are an eternal vocation.
I ask all of the faithful to help establish a true culture of life that respects the dignity of every human person in the very moment of conception to natural death. Let us work together to support family life and to guarantee that our children are loved; to work for peace in our families, our community, our country and world so that our children receive the inheritance they so justly deserve; namely a place where love is not just infatuation or a romantic moment, a passing phase but where love is real and enduring; where forgiveness is not measured but freely given and also requested and gratefully accepted; where the poor and unwanted are orphans no more.
Today the words spoken by Jesus to his first pope resound FEED MY SHEEP. I PRAY FOR YOU SIMON THAT YOUR FAITH MAY NOT FAIL. YOU IN YOUR TURN MUST STRENGTHEN YOUR BROTHERS.
I ask for your prayers to fulfill this mandate to strengthen all my brothers and sisters in the family of God in this Diocese of Rochester.
I am mindful of those words of Pope Paul VI addressed to the crowds assembled in St. Peter’s Square on the day of this coronation, June 30, 1963, These are his words:
“We will love those who are near and those who are far from us. We will love our country and that of others. We will love our friends. We will love our enemies. We will love all social classes but especially those most in need of help, of assistance, of advancement. We will love the old, the poor and the sick. We will love those who mock us, who scorn us, oppose us, who persecute us. We will want no one to be our enemy. We will love striving to understand, to have sympathy, to admire and to serve and to suffer. We will love with the heart of Christ.”
Invoking the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother and Patroness of these United States and St. John Fisher, Saint, Martyr and Patron of our Diocese, I pray that together as a community of believers we always and everywhere will echo Mary’s Fiat with the steadfast fidelity of Saint John Fisher THY WILL BE DONE.
If we do this then we can all respond (and I respect all the different groups here today with their languages as we will pray the Prayer of the Faithful); so let us unite with one voice in the universal language of the Church. If we do God’s will, all that remains to be said is DEO GRATIAS.