Father Anthony Marques, Special to The Catholic Virginian

On Jan. 12, for the 13th time in its nearly 200-year history, the Diocese of Richmond will receive a new bishop. As five of his predecessors have done, Bishop-designate Barry C. Knestout will become the bishop of Richmond by formally entering the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and presenting his credentials.

Since Bishop-designate Knestout has already been ordained a bishop, he will assume the leadership of the Diocese of Richmond by means of a rite called “installation,” which will take place within Mass.

The installation rite is more than pageantry; its gestures and symbols manifest the universal Church, which is based on the Twelve Apostles and their successors, who are the pope and bishops. The universal Church is composed of “particular Churches” (dioceses), each of which is a community of laity assembled with its bishop, priests, and deacons, and all of them in union with the pope.

The nature of the Church will be evident throughout the Mass of Installation. Beginning outside, Bishop-designate Knestout will be greeted at the doors of the cathedral, where he will be presented with a crucifix that he will venerate with a kiss. Next, using holy water, the bishop-designate will bless himself and those around him. Then the entrance procession of liturgical ministers (seminarians) and clergy will take place.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, the metropolitan or head of the ecclesiastical province to which Richmond and neighboring dioceses belong, will conduct the next part of the Mass. Standing at the bishop’s chair (cathedra), Archbishop Lori will begin the liturgy and introduce the apostolic nuncio (the Vatican ambassador to the United States), Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who will read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis appointing Bishop-designate Knestout to the Diocese of Richmond.

The metropolitan’s role highlights the connection between a diocese and other particular Churches; the presence of the nuncio signifies the membership of a diocese in the universal Church by being in union with the pope.

Bishop-designate Knestout will show the apostolic letter, which is called a “bull” because of its seal (in Latin: bulla), to the college of consultors, the group of priests who act as senior advisers to the diocesan bishop. He will also show the letter to the faithful.

Once the letter has been shown, the metropolitan and nuncio will lead Bishop-designate Knestout to the cathedra, inviting him to be seated in it for the first time, and handing him his crozier (pastoral staff). Representatives of the diocese will then greet the new bishop of Richmond. Bishop Knestout will preside over the rest of the Mass and preach the homily.

The setting of the cathedral church is central to the rite of installation. The term “cathedral” is derived from the Latin cathedra (meaning “chair”), which represents the bishop’s teaching and governing authority, as well as the unity of the local Church gathered around him. Occupying that chair for the first time, Bishop Barry C. Knestout will begin his ministry as the 13th bishop of Richmond.

Editor’s note: The Mass of Installation will be livestreamed on www.richmonddiocese.org.

Evening Prayer, Mass to be livestreamed

Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

Planning for the installation of Bishop Barry C. Knestout, named the 13th bishop of the Diocese of Richmond by Pope Francis on Tuesday, Dec. 5, continues.

Attendance at the Mass of Installation, 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, is by ticket only. The deadline for entering the lottery for tickets was Friday, Dec. 29. Winners were to be notified during the first week of January.

Evening Prayer, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, in the cathedral, is open to the public. It is a non-ticketed event, but seating is limited and will be handled on a first come, first served basis.

Both Evening Prayer and the Mass of Installation will be streamed live on the diocesan website, www.richmonddiocese.org.

Between Wednesday, Jan. 17 and Sunday, Feb. 4, Bishop Knestout will celebrate 17 regional Masses throughout the diocese.

For further information about Evening Prayer and/or the Mass of Installation, email newbishop@richmonddiocese.org or call (804) 622-5294.