17 August 2018
If I tell you that you will need a linen gremial, a staff, a ring and a miter, would you know why? And if I add that possibly a rochet will be wanted, let alone the dalmatic, pectoral cross, albs, stoles, copes, surplices and a Roman Pontifical – you have probably guessed that there is to be an ordination.
I should have mentioned the personnel: the principal consecrator, several bishops, priests and at least two deacons. There must be a chair, the cathedra, for the bishop to sit in.
Oh, and the star of it all, as it happens a good friend, Monsignor Algirdas Jurevičius, the bishop-elect.
This particular friend will be ordained on Sunday, August 19th, in the cathedral basilica dedicated to SS Peter and Paul in Kaunas, Lithuania. We whizzed through Kaunas years ago and didn’t have time to visit the cathedral, a regrettable oversight to judge by the pictures.
Pope Francis will visit Lithuania next month and I like to think of our friend mingling with him and his entourage; the Pope will appreciate that his new bishop has a lot to offer. He’s youngish, very intelligent, speaks several languages and is well-travelled. He has worked at the coal-face of local parishes, and also alongside his bishop, so he “knows the ropes.”
Apart from anything else he has a sense of humour. Essential qualifications for a bishop-elect.
It would be tedious to go through the liturgy at this point but what stuck me forcibly when reading it through was the accent on humility. A bishop has to be at the disposal of the clergy he takes care of and his pastoral flock. He has to be prepared to take on controversy fearlessly, to speak up when challenged, and proclaim the message, welcome or unwelcome. He must love God’s people whomever they may be and be mindful of the Good Shepherd who knows His own sheep and is known by them, and who did not hesitate to lay down His life for them.
Total humility in imitation of Christ.
The distance between Oxford and Kaunas is more than a thousand miles. If you can’t be there in body you can in spirit, and we who know Bishop-elect Jurevičius certainly will be and I hope you will be too.