Bishop Edward Egan named Archbishop of New York: a Weston confirmation ceremony provides a preview

bishopNewly appointed to be Archbishop of the New York diocese, the now-former Bishop of the Bridgeport diocese gave a preview of his upcoming tenure at a confirmation ceremony held recently at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Weston.  The tall and energetic figure entered the sanctuary in full ceremonial regalia, and began with a profoundly deep and booming voice the Catholic rite of confirmation for more than two dozen teen and adult local residents and their attending families and friends.  It was to be one of his final official visits in his local role.

In his remarks to the confirmants and the assembled, the then-Bishop of Bridgeport offered a number of insights into his outlook for his pending tenure in New York:

  • He recalled an interdenominational visit of clergy to the Pearl Harbor memorial in the early 90’s, and drew attention to the story of Alousius Schmidt, a Protestant chaplain aboard the battleship Oklahoma who sacrificed his life to help sixteen sailors escape the sinking ship, and the story of a Jewish sailor who had been saved similarly.  His ability to weave all faiths into the tapestry of his ministry will be very important in the very diverse culture of New York.
  • He cited numerous statistics throughout his remarks, both in regards to the size and accomplishments of the Bridgeport diocese and in his stories, citing the exact number of tombstones in the gravesite at Pearl Harbor, the exact number of planes attacking, the exact number of ships and lives lost.  In addition to being a motivating speaker, Bishop Egan is clearly also one who keeps close track of details.
  • He urged the young confirmants to turn aside from drug and alcohol abuse, emphasizing the need for young people to make positive commitments, and for parents to help their children stand behind those commitments.  He also made prominent use of a young priest during the ceremony.  Both points would seem to emphasize his desire to draw young people into the Catholic church and into its ministry.  
  • While making sure to mention some of the more conservative points of Catholic doctrine in his remarks, he did not emphasize them, nor politicize them.  His intentions to join the political fray of New York as did the former Cardinal John O’Connor may prove to be less intense than his predecessor.
  • At the end of the ceremony, he took special efforts to greet and exhort each of the confirmants individually, breaking from the ceremonial recession even before it had left the sanctuary to return to them in the front of the church.  In addition to being a powerful speaker and administrator, he clearly finds great pleasure in the one-on-one contact that his role also affords.