NEW YORK (CNS) — The feast of St. John Vianney, patron of priests, was a fitting day for New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan to ordain three new auxiliary bishops for New York, the first to be appointed since the cardinal became archbishop of New York in 2009.
The new auxiliaries were ordained at an afternoon Mass Aug. 4 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Bishops John J. Jenik, John J. O’Hara and Peter J. Byrne all have at least 30 years of priestly experience and all have served long tenures as pastors.
“Lord, you never fail to provide shepherds for your people,” Cardinal Dolan said in his homily.
The church can now count on “a new Peter, John and John, to encourage us, to keep our eyes locked on Jesus and walk on the water toward him,” Cardinal Dolan said, “for as St. John Vianney preached, ‘A life lived in faith and holiness is nothing less than a miraculous walk on the waters.'”
Bishop Jenik, 70, has been the pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx since 1978. Bishop Byrne, 63, the current pastor of St. Elizabeth’s Parish in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, was pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish on Staten Island for nearly two decades before taking over at St. Elizabeth’s last July.
Bishop O’Hara, 68, was pastor of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Parish on Staten Island for 12 years and parochial vicar there for eight years prior before being named archdiocesan director of strategic pastoral planning two years ago. In that capacity, he has led the archdiocese’s “Making All Things New” parish planning initiative.
Cardinal Dolan, the principal celebrant and homilist of the ordination Mass, also was principal consecrator of the new bishops. The archdiocese’s two other active auxiliary bishops, Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, vicar general, and Bishop Dominick J. Lagonegro, episcopal vicar of the northern counties, served as co-consecrators.
The numerous concelebrants included Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States; retired Auxiliary Bishops Robert A. Brucato and Josu Iriondo of New York; Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, former Baltimore archbishop and currently grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland; retired Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Connecticut; and Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, former vicar general of the New York Archdiocese.
Ecumenical and interreligious leaders also were in attendance.
After the ordination rite was completed, Cardinal Dolan led the three auxiliary bishops to their places in the sanctuary to thunderous applause from the congregation.
After Communion, as part of the concluding rites, the newly ordained bishops took their miters and crosiers and processed through the cathedral, blessing all present.
Among the many “Bronxites” cheering on Bishop Jenik was Irene Baldwin, 53, a member of St. Gabriel’s Parish. “This is the work of the Holy Spirit,” she told Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper.
Sister Margaret Mary Fitzgibbon, a Sister of Charity, who was the sixth-grade teacher of Bishop O’Hara, smiled with pride from her pew as she eyed her prized pupil in the sanctuary.
“He got the whole message” taught at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Ridgewood, New Jersey — “love,” Sister Margaret Mary, 81, said after the ceremony.
Quoting Scripture, she added, “‘God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them.’ That’s what he’s doing, and to be a bishop is to do it more, spreading more love.”
Among the altar servers from Bishop Byrne’s parish who attended the ordination were two young men, Jean Minaya, 26 and Sandy Alberto, 22.
“He’s a great pastor, he’s a humble man,” Minaya said of his pastor.
Alberto recalled learning about Bishop Byrne’s appointment from a friend’s Facebook posting. “I was so happy,” he said, adding proudly, “that’s my pastor.”
Chicoine is news editor at Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper.