welcomed by huge crowd
By Laureen McMahon
The festive sound of bells chimed in the cold air on the
afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 25, as Holy Rosary Cathedral bell ringers
rang a peal to summon the faithful to a 3 p.m. Mass of Thanksgiving
for Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
The cathedral was packed with well-wishers eager to
pay their respects to Archbishop Miller at the Mass which marked his
ascension as 9th Archbishop of Vancouver. He succeeded the retiring
Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Roussin, SM, on Jan. 2, at the request
of Pope Benedict XVI.
The Most Reverend Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada,
visiting bishops, and diocesan clergy processed into the cathedral
as guest trumpeter Malcolm Aiken played Purcell's Sonata in D
accompanied on the organ by Denis Bedard, Director of Music at Holy
Rosary. Throughout the service, the Cathedral Senior Choir performed
various selections chosen by Archbishop Miller for the occasion.
Archbishop Miller sprinkled holy water while processing down the
centre aisle as the choir sang The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life.
Monsignor Stephen Jensen, recently appointed vicar general of the
archdiocese, welcomed everyone to the celebration with the words,
"Today we celebrate things old and new. What is new is that another
successor of the apostles has come to be our shepherd in the person
of Archbishop Miller. What is old and timeless is our communion with
the Church throughout the world and in every age, expressed and
guaranteed especially by our communion with our leader, the Bishop
of Rome, Pope Benedict."
Monsignor Jensen introduced Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Apostolic
Nuncio, who greeted the congregation and later presented Archbishop
Miller with a silver crozier designating him shepherd of the
Catholic faithful in this archdiocese. With its signature hook, the
crozier symbolizes a bishop's duty to seek and return the
spiritually lost, just as a shepherd uses his crook to draw his
sheep back from any danger into which they stray.
A letter announcing the appointment of Archbishop Miller, as
Coadjutor Archbishop to Vancouver, was read by Monsignor Jensen.
This document from 2007 released Archbishop Miller from his former
duties at the Holy See and commended his exemplary performance of
Since he was named coadjutor, Archbishop Miller had right of
succession, and therefore became Archbishop of Vancouver immediately
Archbishop Roussin's resignation was accepted, which was effective
In the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Jensen then read
the proclamation from Pope Benedict XVI, dated Jan. 25, 2009, the
feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, which affirmed his choice of
Archbishop Miller as the new Archbishop of Vancouver.
After the archbishop was officially seated upon the cathedral
throne, the guest bishops seated on the altar rose one by one to
give him a personal and affectionate greeting.
The Prayers of the Faithful were read by young people in a number of
different languages to stress the cultural diversity of the
Vancouver archdiocese. As well as asking for the Holy Spirit to
guide Archbishop Miller in his new role, several of the prayers
touched on themes which he had chosen to include in his homily, such
as the just-concluded Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the 50th
anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council, and
the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul; these last two share the
date of Jan. 25.
Among groups presenting Archbishop Miller with spiritual bouquets
were the Brett Powell Family on behalf of archdiocesan families, the
Missionaries of Charity on behalf of religious communities of women,
Westminster Abbey Abbot John Braganza, OSB, on behalf of religious
communities of men, and Monsignor Bernard Rossi on behalf of the
clergy of the archdiocese.
Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, of Prince George extended a hand of
welcome, friendship, and support to Archbishop Miller, who is now
the Metropolitan Archbishop of B.C. and the Yukon, on behalf of the
bishops from all his suffragan dioceses.
At the conclusion of the Mass everyone was invited to a reception at
Rosary hall to offer personal greetings to Archbishop Miller,
Archbishop Emeritus Roussin, and the Apostolic Nuncio.
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