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The Bishop’s Big Day

Bishop-Daniel-E-Thomas

Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, who has been serving as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be introduced as the eighth bishop of Toledo.

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Dignitaries and diocesan faithful will be at Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral Tuesday and Wednesday to attend the installation of the Most Rev. Daniel Thomas as the eighth Roman Catholic bishop of Toledo.

The last installation was in December 2003, when the Most Rev. Leonard Blair, now archbishop of Hartford, Conn., took leadership of Toledo’s see.

A 5 p.m. Tuesday evening prayer service will set a holy tone for Bishop Thomas’ installation day. The actual installation ceremony, with “the Solemn Celebration of the Holy Eucharist,” according to the order of service, will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, on the day celebrating the memorial of St. John Paul II.

Tuesday’s service is open to the public. On Wednesday the cathedral will be at capacity with Bishop Thomas’ family, clergy, women and men religious, diocesan workers, and sacred and secular dignitaries attending. The ceremony will also be broadcast live on TV, radio, and the Internet.

On WTVG-TV, channel 13, Monsignor Charles Singler, the director of the diocese’s Office of Divine Worship, will give commentary from the balcony of the cathedral alongside Lee Conklin. On WTOL-TV, channel 11, the Rev. Gregory Hite of St. Peter in Mansfield will be with Jerry Anderson in a studio as a commentator.

The Mass will be shown on EWTN (Buckeye Cablevision channel 179) without commentary. On Annunciation Radio (89.7 FM in Toledo/Bowling Green) and Holy Family Radio (88.9 FM in Leipsic), Deacon Scott Woods, a seminarian, will be commenting. The ceremony will also be available as a live stream at toledodiocese.org.

Monsignor Singler has provided commentary at other services. “I’ve done this for years as a director of worship for the diocese,” Msgr. Singler said, “and I’m trying to break in a whole new generation of masters of ceremonies and people that can take over.”

Father Hite doesn’t consider himself in a new generation, having been a priest more than 30 years. “I suspect that Monsignor Singler asked me to do it because I had done it when Bishop Blair was installed,” he said.

Deacon Woods, however, is in that new generation, at age 33. On May 30, Bishop Thomas will ordain him and two other deacons to the priesthood. Deacon Woods has done Mass radio commentary twice before, and he was a master of ceremonies at Rosary Cathedral before entering seminary. He appreciates “the opportunity to sort of paint a picture for those tuning in,” he said.

The vespers service Tuesday will have choral songs and hymns, psalms, a homily by Bishop Thomas, and prayers.

The ritual Wednesday has formal and symbolic actions. When the service starts after musical preludes, “Bishop-Designate Thomas” will be greeted on behalf of the diocese by the Rev. Charles Ritter, who has been diocesan administrator since Archbishop Blair’s departure. With the installation, Father Ritter’s time as administrator will end and he will be able to devote more attention to his continuing position as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Sylvania.

Next, Monsignor William Kubacki, the rector of the cathedral, will present a crucifix, and the bishop will then use holy water for a blessing.

The processional of participants will start, with music and chanting, up the aisle. When the bishops, priests, and others are in place, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati will give words of welcome.

Archbishop Schnurr will introduce Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., who is the pope’s ambassador. Archbishop Vigano will read a translation of the letter from Pope Francis appointing Bishop Thomas as the bishop of Toledo. (Bishop Thomas first was notified of his appointment by a phone call from Archbishop Vigano.)

The letter will be shown to the diocese’s College of Consulters to signify that it’s authentic, then to the congregation.

The “Seating of the Bishop” is next. That is the actual installation, signifying that the cathedra, or bishop’s chair, is for Bishop Thomas. “The metropolitan archbishop in Ohio is Archbishop Schnurr, so technically he is the installing bishop,” Bishop Thomas said. “He will install me in the presence of the apostolic nuncio.”

Bishop Thomas will also receive a crozier, or bishop’s staff. In the ceremony. The crozier will be one first used by Archbishop Karl Alter, bishop of Toledo from 1931 to 1950.

With the bishop having taken his seat, he will be greeted by dignitaries — representatives for priests, deacons, and religious; lay Catholics on behalf of family and youth; a doctor and a nurse for health care ministries; Catholic Charities leaders; and three “Interfaith and Ecumenical Representatives”: Rabbi Alan Sokobin, the retired leader of Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania; the board president of the Ohio Council of Churches, the Rev. Otha Gilyard, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Columbus; and the Ohio Council of Churches executive director, the Rev. Rebecca Tollefson, a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, also from Columbus.

With the people having given their formal welcomes, a choral motet starts a transition to the Mass. Songs of glory and praise and scripture readings will be sung and spoken, then Bishop Thomas will give his first homily as the diocesan bishop. When that concludes and a prayer is sung, the eucharist begins with presentation and preparation of the bread and wine, sung liturgical elements, and the rite of communion.

The service will conclude with a blessing and dismissal, a song to the Virgin Mary, and a recessional hymn followed by a postlude.

And Bishop Thomas’ work for Toledo will be under way.

Contact TK Barger @ tkbarger@theblade.com, 419-724-6278 or on Twitter @TK_Barger.

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