Bishop John C. Wester installed with joy, gratitude

Friday, Mar. 16, 2007
Bishop John C. Wester installed with joy, gratitude Photo 1 of 4
Above, Bishop John C. Wester, bishop designate of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, knocks on the door of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, requesting entrance to his new See.

SALT LAKE CITY — In a joy-filled, afternoon ceremony March 14, that included more than 50 bishops from across the country, five archbishops, including Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and two cardinals – Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Calif., and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., Bishop John C. Wester was officially installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Ecclesial guests included, among others, Archbishop George H. Niederauer, Metropolitan Archbishop of the San Francisco Province, the eighth bishop of Salt Lake City and the installing archbishop; Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett of Seattle; Archbishop John R. Quinn, emeritus Archbishop of San Francisco; Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland, Ore.; Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento, Calif., the seventh bishop of the Diocese

the Diocese of Salt Lake City, and Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Wester was ordained a bishop in 1988, and has served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

In a ceremony dating back centuries, Bishop Wester, accompanied by Archbishop Niederauer, knocked on the front door of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. His knock was answered and the doors opened by Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald, who has served as diocesan administrator over the past 13 months since Bishop Niederauer was named Archbishop of San Francisco, Father Joseph M. Mayo, rector of the cathedral, and other diocesan consultors. Bishop Wester was presented with a crucifix. After he was officially received, Bishop Wester blessed the congregation with holy water while the Cathedral Choir and Madeleine Choir School Choristers sang Cristobal Morales’ "Asperges me Domine."

Bishops and archbishops processed into the cathedral, all wearing vestments from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They were followed by Cardinals Mahony and McCarrick, then, Archbishop Sambi, Archbishop Niederauer, and Bishop Wester.

Archbishop Sambi read from the pulpit the mandate from the Apostolic See naming Bishop Wester to the See of Salt Lake City. Bishop Niederauer then led Bishop Wester to the bishop’s chair, seated him, and handed him the crozier, a symbol of his new office as shepherd of the Catholics of Salt Lake City.

Bishop Wester was welcomed personally by civic leaders including Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., Salt Lake City Mayor Ross "Rocky" Anderson, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, and Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini. President and Mrs. Thomas S. Monson, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greeted the new bishop, as did Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, Pastor and Mrs. France Davis of Calvary Baptist Church, and Sir Patrick Powers, Lieutenant of the Western Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem..

Welcomes were then offered by representatives of diocesan ministries and offices and members of the diocese’s various ethnic groups.

The Cathedral of the Madeleine was filled with priests, deacons and their wives, and lay people from both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Representative from parishes from as far north as Logan and as far south as St. George were there, as were representatives from the eastern-most parish of St. James in Vernal, and the western-most San Felipe Parish, Wendover.

Celebrated in both English and in Spanish, the Mass was centered in the readings – from Exodus and the First Letter of John. The Gospel, from John 20: 11-18, told the story of Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the empty tomb and of her encounter with the risen Jesus. Emphasis was also placed on Bishop Wester’s episcopal motto: "Abide in Christ."

Prayers of the faithful were proclaimed in Spanish, Sudanese, Korean, Tongan, English, Vietnamese, and Tagolog, the native language of the Filipino people.

In his homily, one of faith and gratitude, Bishop Wester spoke of the many people who have formed him and helped prepare him for this day, including his father, the late Charles Wester.

Referring to one of the cathedral’s stained glass windows, in which is portrayed Mary’s meeting with the risen Christ, who is carrying a shovel, Bishop Wester said, "this scene is one of the most tender moments recorded in the Gospels... He calls her by name, ‘Mary.’"

Bishop Wester said the installation ceremony was not so much for him. "This installation is for you, about you, and with you. "I am called to see and hear Christ through you... For you I am a bishop. With you I am a Christian."

Bishop Wester spoke of continuing the outreach to people of other faiths begun by his eight predecessors.

"I am called to be an instrument of unity in your midst," he said. "That will be my great preoccupation."

Bishop Wester requested prayers from all present at the installation celebration.

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