Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:37
Events on April 30, May 1 will bring vacancy to a close
By Doug Weller, The Register
Salina — The Diocese of Salina, celebrating its 125th anniversary, will see its 11th bishop ordained on May 1 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The cathedral likely will be overflowing for two events scheduled there for Bishop-elect Edward Weisenberger: the 2 p.m. May 1 ordination and the 5 p.m. April 30 vespers. Both are by invitation only; those arriving must have a ticket for admittance.
A two-hour public reception, from 4 to 6 p.m. May 1, will be in Heritage Hall inside Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
For those without a ticket, there is good news, however. The event will be streamed live on the Internet, and EWTN — Eternal Word Television Network — has agreed to broadcast the event live. Many cable television systems across the diocese carry the station.
Bishop-elect Weisenberger will be the sixth bishop enthroned at the present cathedral, which opened 59 years ago, but only the second actually to be ordained inside the structure.
His immediate predecessor, Bishop Paul Coakley, was the first bishop ever to be ordained inside the diocese.
All the previous bishops were ordained elsewhere and only installed at the cathedral in Salina or at the former cathedral in Concordia, where the diocese was based until 1945.
The May 1 ordination also will bring a fairly rare gathering of episcopal leaders from across the country. At least 26 archbishops, bishops and an abbot are expected to attend, and there will be more than 100 priests, deacons and seminarians from here as well as other dioceses.
The evening vespers on April 30 is a simple prayer service, expected to last about 45 minutes. Following will be a reception in the Hall of Bishops for those attending.
The vespers used to be a fairly intimate event, said Father Frank Coady, diocesan liturgist. When Bishop Daniel Kucera was installed in 1980, for instance, only he and his priests attended.
“It was a way to greet them and pray with them,” he said.
In an effort to allow more people to attend the events welcoming a new bishop, however, the vespers gradually was opened to others, particularly because the cathedral only holds about 900 people.
This time, each parish received 10 tickets — five for the vespers and five for the ordination — that the pastor could distribute. Filling the cathedral for vespers essentially doubles the number of parishioners who can attend, Father Coady explained.
The ordination on May 1 will be much more formal. After the bishops, priests and deacons process in, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, will ask if an official decree from the Vatican appointing Msgr. Weisenburger as bishop of Salina has been received. Known as a papal bull, the document will be read by Father Barry Brinkman, who has served as diocesan administrator in the 14 months since Bishop Coakley was installed as archbishop of Oklahoma City.
As in the ordination of deacons and priests, the new bishop will be asked numerous questions about fulfilling his new duties, and a litany of saints will be sung asking for their intercessions.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., who is metropolitan of the province that includes the Salina, Dodge City and Wichita dioceses, will ordain Bishop Weisenburger. Co-consecrators are Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran, also of Oklahoma City. They and all the bishops present will participate in a laying on of hands, and the Book of Gospels will be held over Bishop Weisenburger’s head as the prayer of ordination is recited.
The new bishop then receives the Book of Gospels, his ring, miter and crosier and is led to the cathedra — the bishop’s seat — where he takes possession of his diocese.
Father Coady said the ordination rite is expected to last almost two hours.
“It’s very beautiful liturgy,” he said. “It’s very impressive and moving.”
What you need to know
• If you have a ticket either to the April 30 vespers or the May 1 ordination, you must present it at Sacred Heart Cathedral to enter. A ticket does not guarantee you a seat inside the church. Seating is first come, first served. Overflow seating will be in the Hall of Bishops, where a video of the events will be projected on a large screen. Much of the front of the church will be reserved for clergy and special guests.
• Area parking lots have been secured but are a block or more away, so allow plenty of time to park and walk to the cathedral, located at 118 N. Ninth.
The parking lot west of the cathedral will be blocked off May 1 and reserved for bishops, priests and family of Bishop-elect Weisenburger; a parking pass is required. It will be open to the public for the vespers.
Private parking lots that are being offered for use both April 30 and May 1 are at First United Methodist Church, 122 S. Eighth; Christ Episcopal Cathedral, 138 S. Eighth (north lot only); Heartland Worship Center, 118 S. Eighth; and Ryan Mortuary, 137 N. Eighth. Knights of Columbus from the three Salina parishes will be directing traffic into these lots.
There also are public parking lots, including one directly south of the cathedral, two north of the Methodist church and two southeast of the Heartland church. Find a map at
salinadowntown.com/index.php/resources-links/lee-district-map/parking-map for the location of other public lots.
• The events are formal and sacred, and guests should dress appropriately.
What you will see
• The new bishop will be presented his miter — the tall, pointed ceremonial cap that bishops and the pope wear. Bishop-elect Weisenburger’s miter will be of a design of his choosing. Visiting bishops always wear a plain, white miter.
The bishop also will be presented his crosier, the pastoral staff that he uses during formal liturgies. It is symbolic of a shepherd’s staff, indicating that he is the pastor of the entire diocese and that its priests are an extension of his ministry. The word “pastor” is Latin for “shepherd.”
Meet the new bishop
• The public reception at the Bicentennial Center from 4 to 6 p.m. May 1 will be a good opportunity to meet Bishop Weisenburger, but he also will be celebrating four special Masses across the diocese. Those will be at:
• 1 p.m. May 20 at Sacred Heart Church in Colby
• 2 p.m. May 27 at St. Mary Church in Ellis
• 2 p.m. June 24 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Concordia
• 1:30 p.m. July 1 at St. Thomas More Church in Manhattan
Online or on TV
• The ordination will be streamed live on the diocesan website at salinadiocese.org. EWTN also will broadcast the ordination live; check your local TV service provider for the channel.
More about Bishop-elect Edward Joseph Weisenburger
Bishop-elect Weisenburger, 51, most recently was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He has been a priest in the archdiocese since his ordination in 1987. He was born Dec. 23, 1960, in Alton, Ill., to Edward John and Asella (Walters) Weisenburger. His mother was a native of Catharine, near Hays, and his parents met in Hays when his father was a military officer. During his two tours of duty during the Vietnam War, he moved his family to Hays to be closer to his wife’s relatives, so the future bishop spent two years of his childhood in the Salina Diocese.
Msgr. Weisenburger grew up primarily in Lawton, Okla., where he graduated from high school. He attended Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., graduating with honors in 1983. He then attended the American College Seminary at the Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium. He graduated with honors, earning a pontifical degree in theology and master’s degrees in religious studies and in moral and religious sciences. In 1990, he began canon law studies at the University of St. Paul in Ottawa, Canada, where he earned the pontifical J.C.L. degree. Upon his return to the Oklahoma City Archdiocese in 1992, he was appointed vice chancellor and adjutant judicial vicar. He was appointed vicar general in 1996 and named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. He served as parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish in Ponca City, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Okarche and rector of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City.
He is a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and a knight commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
His mother died on March 22, 1998. His father lives in Oklahoma City. His family includes two sisters, Mary Jung and husband Don of Yukon, Okla., and their three children, and Adina Heller and husband Karl of Corinth, Texas, and their two children; and a brother, Timothy of Pittsburgh and his former wife, Mary Weisenburger, of Houston, and their son.