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EVENING PRAYER SERVICE Unity and diversity evident as new bishop calls upon the holiness of Mary

McClory evening homily

"We preach Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake," Bishop-elect McClory said, quoting his episcopal motto as he looked out over the congregation at St. Michael the Archangel in Schererville on Feb. 10, during Evening Prayer on the eve of his ordination. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)



Northwest Indiana Catholic


      SCHERERVILLE – More than 1,000 invited family members, friends, colleagues and Catholic faithful gathered at St. Michael the Archangel on Feb. 10 to welcome Bishop Robert J. McClory to his new home in the Diocese of Gary.

      Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek, like Bishop McClory a Detroit native, presided at the Evening Prayer Service held on the vigil of Bishop McClory’s episcopal ordination and installation as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Gary.

      “It’s a joy to be praying with you tonight. It’s a joy to be here with my new family,” said the bishop-elect in his homily, which followed hymns, psalms, silent prayer and Scripture readings.

      Noting that it was the vigil of the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bishop McClory explained that just two weeks before he received the call about his episcopal appointment, he had completed a pilgrimage to the Grotto of Lourdes in France, where he “entrusted myself to the Blessed Mother’s care.”

      Choosing Feb. 11 for his ordination and installation was intentional, he explained. “We honor the mother of Jesus and in so doing, we honor Jesus himself,” Bishop McClory said. “One of the graces that I prayed for (at Lourdes) was that the holiness of the mother of God would reflect on me.”

      The new bishop said the evening’s scripture readings, “reflected someone who didn’t point to herself,” but gave glory to God. “To reflect upon the holiness of Mary is the conduit to Jesus,” he added.

      As a longtime teacher, Bishop McClory also explained the symbols of his new office that were formally blessed on the eve of their presentation to him - the ring, crosier and miter.

      The symbolism of the episcopal ring “very generously” gifted to him by the priests of the Diocese of Gary, said the bishop, can especially be appreciated by those who are married. “I’m married to all of you, and you are a good-looking bride,” he said with a smile.

      Likewise, the diocesan priests gifted Bishop McClory with a hand-carved wooden crosier, or staff, “Which represents a shepherd’s care, pastoral care, the role of governance and a pastor’s heart,” he explained.

      Noting that “only Bishop Melzek is wearing (a miter) tonight,” the bishop-elect said the liturgical headdress of a bishop or abbot, “represents holiness, the holiness that, I pray God, will emanate from me, an approachable holiness, immersed in the Lord.”

      At a reception following the prayer service, guests were in a celebratory mood.

      “The powerful sense of community and family” struck Deacon Tom Maicher from Holy Spirit in Winfield. “It was absolutely beautiful, the unity of everyone, the response from the entire Church,” he said of the vigil service. “I liked the way the intercessions worked in the different languages – Tagalog, Slovak, German, Vietnamese, Italian, Malayalam and Polish – showing that we’re part of the universal Church reminds us of the bigger picture. It’s a good day for our diocese.”

      That celebration of diversity was echoed by Father Nate Edquist, associate pastor at St. Patrick in Chesterton. “The diversity that was displayed shows that the diocese will be administered with openness,” he said. “It’s good to have this central, unifying bishop, someone who will support his priests.”

      Father Edquist singled out the music at the service as “impressive,” including the Voces de Fe y Esperanza, Ss. Monica and Luke Sanctuary Choir, Holy Angels Choir and Schola Cantorum, all under the direction of David Herr, diocesan choir director and assistant to the director of the Office of Worship and the Catechumenate.

      Patti Herr, a St. Michael the Archangel Choir member, said “it was beautiful to see so many people come out and welcome the new bishop. So many people wanted to sing (tonight). I like that he feels he’s part of us already, and glad he’s going to follow through with our Synod 2017 plan,” she said.

      Barb Budgen, a CYO board member and parishioner at St. Mary in Crown Point, found the prayer service “very moving, very inspirational. I’d say the bishop is definitely open and anxious to work with everyone in the diocese, and I hope he can inspire the youth of our diocese.”

      Seminarian William O’Donnell, a candle bearer at the ordination Mass, called the vigil service, “absolutely amazing, how the bishop consecrated himself and the Diocese of Gary to the Blessed Mother. As I listened, I was imagining the Blessed Mother looking down on us.

      “I thought about him looking back at his seminary days and how he said ‘yes’ (to God’s call),” O’Donnell said. “I am ready to say ‘yes’, too.”

      Traveling from his home in East Lansing, Mich., Paul Long, president and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference, has known Bishop McClory for a decade as the liaison between the Archdiocese of Detroit and MCC, the Church’s voice in public policy matters as well as administrator of employee benefits for seven dioceses.

      “He is a good man, a bright man, a man who has a heart for the Lord and the mother of the Lord and a passion for bringing people closer to Jesus,” Long said. “He has a keen sense of the issues facing the Church in society and a desire to see the Church continue in its public ministries for the public good.”

      Volunteer greeter John Kawalski, a member of the hospitality ministry at St. Michael the Archangel, called the prayer service “a really, really impressive night. There was a lot of pageantry and his homily was awesome. I thought everything went real smoothly.”

      “We preach Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake,” Bishop McClory said, quoting his episcopal motto as he looked out over the congregation. “All of us are his body, and as we share his love with others, as it beats in our hearts, (we pray that) people will say, ’I want in on that, my heart longs for that,’” adding, “We’re his body and I look forward, with you, to proclaiming Jesus.”


McClory evening two

During the evening prayer in anticipation of the ordination and installation of Bishop Robert J. McClory, Bishop-elect McClory (second from right) sings a psalm along with (left to right) Bishop of Madison, Wisc.. Donald J. Hying, Caldeon Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat of the Eparch of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore Adam J. Parker, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Robert J. Fisher, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Bishop Gerard Battersby, and the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America Archbishop Christophe Pierre, in St. Michael the Archangel in Schererville, Ind. on Feb. 10. (Anthony D. Alonzo, Northwest Indiana Catholic)


McClory evening three

Bishop-elect Robert J. McClory greets the Albertine Sisters of Hammond after evening prayer on Feb. 10 at St. Michael church in Schererville in anticipation of his ordination and installation the next day at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary. About 1,000 invited guests participated in the liturgy and meet-and-greet gathering. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)



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