During a liturgy rich in tradition and symbolism, Bishop John O. Barres was formally installed as spiritual leader of the Diocese of Rockville Centre at St. Agnes Cathedral on January 31. He said he looked forward “to experiencing the vibrant, welcoming, new evangelizing parishes of the diocese of Rockville Centre” and getting to know as many people as possible.
Photographer Gregory A. Shemitz captured these images from the Mass of Installation:
The Cathedral was filled, with guests arriving on a bus from Pennsylvania where Bishop Barres served as bishop of the Dicoese of Allentown. As the diocesan choir sang song after song, people anxiously awaited the arrival of Bishop Barres at the back of a long entrance procession which included hundreds of clergy, including more than 60 bishops and 3 cardinals. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan was the main presider.
Cardinal Dolan introduced Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican representative to the US, who read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis naming Bishop Barres as the leader of the Church in Rockville Centre. Bishop Barres then carried the letter around the cathedral so the document could be “inspected.”
Then, Bishop Barres was literally “seated” as the head of the diocese as he was escorted to the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, by Archbishop Pierre and Cardinal Timothy Dolan He was presented with his crosier, or bishop’s staff and then was greeted by representatives of the diocese and civic, ecumenical and interfaith leaders.
In addition to greeting the active faithful of his new diocese, Bishop Barres reached out to those who have been away from the Church. “I appeal on this day of my installation as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to every inactive Catholic in the diocese to gently come back…to the power of the word of God, the power of the sacrament of penance, the power of the Catholic Mass,” he said. “I am so very sorry if you have been hurt or disappointed by the Church in any way and we stand here today to support you, to listen to you and to love you.”