Installation prep: Mailing thousands of invites, cleaning with toothbrushes

| May 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Archbishop Bernard Hebda in the Cathedral of St. Paul, where he will be installed archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis May 13. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda in the Cathedral of St. Paul, where he will be installed archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis May 13. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

At the Cathedral of St. Paul, marble floors are being polished, nearly 40 chasubles are being dry-cleaned and pressed, and a team of volunteers have been — for weeks — dusting the intricate sacristy woodwork with toothbrushes.

It’s all part of preparations for the installation of Archbishop Bernard Hebda as archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis May 13 — an event that is as much a celebration of the archdiocese as it is a celebration of the archbishop, archdiocesan leaders said.

Catholics who attend the 2 p.m. Mass — which begins with a procession at 1:45 p.m. — can expect to find a Cathedral “jam-packed” with people representing all facets of the local Church, said Father John Paul Erickson, archdiocesan director of worship, but a full Cathedral shouldn’t dissuade the faithful from going to the Mass.

“It is a beautiful manifestation of the meaning of our cathedral in a big way,” he said. “Archbishop [John] Ireland wanted a real monument to faith and a place where everyone could gather together to celebrate moments of profound significance. And this, in terms of the local Church, is pretty much as profound as it gets.”

Most of the Mass follows the typical form, except for its opening, said Susan Mulheron, the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs. Following the procession of visiting bishops and clergy, as well as clergy of the archdiocese, Archbishop Hebda will knock on the Cathedral’s interior holy doors with a mallet made from wood from the archdiocese’s first cathedral, a log chapel dedicated in 1841, on loan to the archdiocese by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The knocking signifies the archbishop’s taking possession of his cathedral, Mulheron said. After the doors open, Archbishop Hebda will meet Cathedral Rector Father John Ubel and proceed up the center aisle.

Once Archbishop Hebda is in the sanctuary, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, emeritus papal nuncio to the United States, will read an English translation of a papal mandate naming Archbishop Hebda the archbishop. The original mandate will then be inspected by the archdiocese’s college of consultors — a group of 10 priests with governance responsibilities in the archdiocese — and then approved and recorded by Mulheron as chancellor. Then Archbishop Hebda will sit for the first time in the cathedra, the large chair reserved for the archbishop.

“The sitting at the chair sacramentalizes [the installation],” Father Erickson said. “It makes this invisible reality very visible.”

Then Mass will continue as normal.

Also notable will be Archbishop Hebda’s use of a crosier that belonged to Archbishop Ireland, who led the archdiocese from 1884 to 1918, and a chalice used by Archbishop Austin Dowling, archbishop from 1919 to1930. Both items have routinely been used for Masses at the Cathedral, Father Erickson noted.

Honoring Mary

Prior to entering the sanctuary for the reading of the papal mandate, Archbishop Hebda will likely pause before a recently restored statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The installation falls on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, who is believed to have appeared to three Portuguese children several times in 1917, starting on May 13.

“Our Lady, whether under the title of Our Lady of Fatima or any other title, is the mother of mercy, and she has a particular role to play in shepherding us and walking with us through this pilgrimage of life,” Father Erickson said.

More than 4,000 invitations have been sent for the Mass and an ecumenical evening prayer event that will be held 7 p.m. May 12 in Minneapolis at the Basilica of St. Mary, the archdiocese’s co-cathedral. There, representatives from various civic, religious and Catholic organizations will have the opportunity to welcome the archbishop.

Neither the evening prayer nor the installation Mass are ticketed events; invitations were sent to U.S. bishops, civic leaders, Catholics leaders and those working in Catholic institutions or organizations as a formal expression of gratitude and an acknowledgment of their relationship with the local Church, Mulheron said.

The installation Mass will be broadcast live on Relevant Radio 1330, EWTN and local TV channel 16.2. It will livestream at, where it will also be archived.

“This is an exciting and beautiful moment for this local Church,” Mulheron said. “It really is about the archdiocese and the local Church. It’s not about Archbishop Hebda himself. When a diocese is without a bishop, we’re without our shepherd, and this is the first moment when we have our shepherd in place. We can celebrate that with him; we can celebrate the Eucharist with him for the first time as our archbishop and be part of this together.”


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