- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

4:38 p.m.

The Rev. Donald W. Wuerl was installed as the sixth archbishop of Washington today, replacing Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who ran the archdiocese since 2001.

About 2,500 people crowded into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the nation. Invited guests included Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, several members of Congress and nearly two dozen ambassadors.

Archbishop Wuerl received a standing ovation as he approached the altar after a procession that included hundreds of priests and deacons and 80 Catholic cardinals and bishops.

In an ancient church tradition, Archbishop Wuerl presented his credentials at the entrance of the church. The Rite of Canonical Possession calls for priests to inspect the document, signed by Pope Benedict XVI, naming him to the post and for Archbishop Wuerl to affirm that he accepts the assignment.

“I resolve to serve faithfully the spiritual needs of this church,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Wuerl was greeted by Cardinal McCarrick and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the pope’s chief diplomatic representative to the United States, who escorted him to the bishop’s chair and handed him the ceremonial staff symbolizing his role as a shepherd to the people.

Cardinal McCarrick, who is stepping down at the church’s mandatory retirement age of 75, urged prayers and support for Archbishop Wuerl. He called his successor “a tireless witness of hope for the third millennium.”

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