Bishop John Barres blesses the crozier, miter and episcopal ring that Bishop-elect Henning will use. Ed Casey photo.


By Paul McAvoy

Vespers and evening prayer prior to the ordination of Bishop-elect Richard Henning as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre took place at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hempstead on Tuesday evening, July 23.  Rockville Centre’s Bishop John Barres, Bishop-emeritus William Murphy, Archbishop Christophe Pierre (the papal nuncio) and many priests and friends were in attendance.

Scroll down for a slideshow of photos from the vespers.

The importance of Hispanic Catholics on Long Island was front and center throughout the evening, with songs, prayers and responses said first in Spanish and then in English. The prayer service opened with a lively song to a fully-packed church.

Prayers were sung and chanted and Bishop-elect Henning gave a short reflection, thanking all who have supported him. He shared a personal story of his first ministry work in the Spanish-speaking community in Port Washington, and of the inspiring witness of a woman named Teresita who took him under her wing. Throughout those early years of his priesthood he learned much about the faith and culture from Teresita and her friends, and is looking forward to continuing to work with the Latino community.

A translation of his remarks included the following: “I would like to express my special gratitude to our Hispanic brothers and sisters here on Long Island,” Bishop-elect Henning said. “…I am deeply aware that I address my Hispanic brothers and sisters as a spiritual immigrant to your world of faith. It is not my language or culture. I have no genetic or cultural claim to belong to your number or expect that you would hear me. But I recall how the Hispanics of Port Washington welcomed me to communion with them and I now hope for the same as a new bishop. I come before you in the hope that our shared faith will unite us in the mission before us!”

Read the complete text of Bishop-elect Henning’s remarks here.



Photos by Ed Casey