After Thursday’s column on the upcoming ordination to the archbishopric of J. Augustine “Gus” Di Noia, a long-time DC insider and Dominican priest who got promoted to the Vatican in 2002, I decided to drop by his 2 1/2-hour ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. These ordinations are always interesting to watch, starting with the priest or bishop or archbishop-to-be prostrating himself before the altar while the choir sings the Litany of the Saints. We have a photo of this included here.
Archbishop Di Noia looked a bit overcome at the end of the ceremony and his remarks at the end were very, very brief. He choked up when he gave credit to the Dominican order for nurturing him all these years. It turns out that one of the three co-consecrators got stuck in Rome at the last minute, so the bishop who substituted was the retired bishop of Louisville, Thomas Kelly, a Dominican who was Gus Di Noia’s spiritual director way back when during the days Di Noia was considering the priesthood.
One notable absence: retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Doubtless he’s traveling about somewhere but every other bishop and assistant bishop in Washington and Baltimore seemed to be there. The archdiocese told me there were 4 cardinals and 18 archbishops and bishops there. And hundreds of people who filled the nave but not the transcepts.
There were tons of Dominican brothers, priests and nuns wandering about, all dressed in their distinctive brown or black-on-white habits. Must say a lot of the nuns looked quite young. I’ve noticed the Dominican nuns I’ve met all seem vivacious and friendly and glad to be doing what they’re doing.
Now in the middle of the ceremony, there is a point where the bishop-elect is presented and examined by the principal consecrator as to his resolve and fitness for his new job. Unfortunately Di Noia was not miked, so we could not pick up his responses, but had I been in charge of things, I would have posed an altogether different set of questions. Here’s why: Although his day job will be with the Roman Curia, he’s been named titular archbishop of Oregon City, a title that is meant as honorary only as Oregon City, a town 16-18 miles south of Portland, was absorbed into the Archdiocese of Portland long ago. But surely he’d like to visit the place, especially since his “see” is there? But first, he needs to study up for questions like these:
1. What is the name of the river that runs past Oregon City?
2. What is the name of the 14,000-foot mountain just to the east of OC?
3. What is the population of Oregon City?
4. What is the name of his new cathedral church?
5. When was the Archdiocese of Oregon City established?
6. What is the name of the freeway that runs past Oregon City?
7. What is the name of the doctor who in 1829 laid claim to Oregon City for the Hudson’s Bay Co. at the end of the Oregon Trail?
8. When was the Oregon City Elevator, one of two vertical streets in the country, built?
Answers: the Willamette, Mt. Hood, 30,000, St. John the Apostle at 417 Washington St., 1846, I-205, Dr. John McLoughlin, 1915.
After the long service, the new archbishop went downstairs to the crypt and greeted a long line of guests. A photo is below. I presented him with a packet from the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce filled with all sorts of advice and tips for folks moving to the area plus a letter of greeting from the folks in his new “cathedral.” Who knows, he may visit there.
- Julia Duin, religion writer.