Bishop Slated for Ordination in Burlington

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(Host) Vermont’s new Roman Catholic Bishop will be ordained next week in Burlington. The elaborate ceremony will mark the first ordination of a bishop in Vermont in nearly thirty-five years. As VPR’s Steve Zind reports, it’s an elaborate ceremony that’s involved a great deal of preparation.

(Zind) The quiet rectory at Saint Monica’s church in Barre belies the fact that the church’s pastor has been a busy man for the last several weeks. The only sign that something unusual is afoot is a half case of California wine labeled approved for sacramental use.

As Director of Liturgy for Vermont’s Catholic Diocese, the Reverend Peter Routhier is in charge of organizing Tuesday’s ordination of Vermont’s ninth Bishop, Monsignor Salvatore Matano.

(Routher) “It’s a great undertaking and it involves many hours of work.”

(Zind) Routhier and a group of lay and clergy members of the church have been meeting and rehearsing since the day after the announcement of Matano’s appointment was made.

The diocese won’t say how much is being budgeted for the ordination, which is the first since Bishop John Marshall’s in 1972. Current Bishop Kenneth Angell was already an auxiliary Bishop when he came to the state.

Fifteen hundred people are expected to attend Tuesday’s event, including forty bishops, the Archbishop of Boston, and the Papal Nuncio – the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S.

The two-and-a-half-hour ceremony begins with a long procession into the Saint Joseph co-cathedral in Burlington, followed by a Mass and blessing. An organist, a brass ensemble and a fifty-voice choir will perform the music.

Much of the ordination is prescribed by church tradition. But the music and readings are selected by the incoming Bishop. Routhier says Matano has been closely involved in the preparations.

One tradition missing from the ceremony is the gold-plated chalice for every ordination since that of Vermont’s first Bishop, Louis deGoesbriand in 1873. The chalise was recently stolen from the diocese offices.

(Routher) “But the second Bishop of Vermont, Bishop Michaud, who was a native Vermonter – we actually have his chalice. So we will use that. The crosier that Bishop Mutano will use, the staff that he carries, will be the one that has been used by every bishop. It’s Bishop deGoesbriand’s.”

(Zind) The 58-year-old Matano will serve as Vermont Co-Adjutor Bishop until Angell retires sometime after his seventy-fifth birthday in August.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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