New bishop thanks all for prayers, support at ordination

SOUTH END -- In remarks of thanks just after his ordination to the episcopate on Jan. 4 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Bishop Robert P. Deeley stressed the connection between a bishop and the greater body of the Church, and he thanked those in attendance who will support his vocation as a bishop in the future.

According to Bishop Deeley, he felt, during and just after the sacrament of ordination, like a bride and groom might feel on their wedding day.

"Whenever I do a wedding, and I get to the pulpit -- given that there is a certain level of nervousness before me -- I usually say, 'All right, everybody take a deep breath. Everybody has made it to this point and we are all safe.' So, today I am telling myself that 'take a deep breath,'" he said.

He said the day of his ordination in 1973 was a hot day, and compared that with the cold January wind outside the cathedral on the day of his ordination as the Titular Bishop of Kearney and auxiliary bishop of Boston.

"I guess I get the extremes; we go from one ordination on a hot, hot July day to a wintery blast of air on a cold January day, but my heart is full today. There is so much to take in," he said.

He thanked the archbishops, bishops, priests, religious, his family, his guests that day, and those who organized the Mass. He thanked Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley for his leadership and the ordination rite, thanked Sister Ella Christian, SGM, and Sister Zita Fleming, CSJ, who served as readers during the Mass, and thanked apostolic nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano for representing Pope Benedict XVI at the ordination.

He said a card he received from a Catholic school student asked for prayers of support from the new bishop and promised prayers of support in return.

"I think that sums it up. That is what we are called to do for one another as Church; pray for each other," he said.

Bishop Charles Scicluna, an auxiliary bishop who traveled from Malta, said he felt privileged to be at the ordination that day. As promoter of the faith in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop Scicluna worked with Bishop Deeley for seven years in Rome, from 2004 until 2011.

"He is an expert in canon law, but there is a great love for the Church and for the people of God. I also appreciated the fact that he would be direct when it came to sharing either frustrations or even satisfaction with the way things were going. I have always found in Msgr. Deeley a loyal friend and a loyal collaborator, and I think Cardinal O'Malley is very lucky to have him as an auxiliary bishop," he said.

Rev. Laura E. Everett, executive director of The Mass Council of Churches, said she appreciated joining the archdiocese for the ordination on the memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, because the Episcopal Church also celebrates the memory of the first native-born citizen of the United States canonized by the Catholic Church.

"It is important that this is a saint's day that many Christian traditions honor and there is something profound about having an ordination on that day," she said.

Bishop Deeley's brother Paul Deeley said he felt happy that all of the priests of his home parish, St. Joseph Parish in Needham, attended the ordination. He also noted that the new bishop has maintained life-long friendships with some people who attended the ordination.

"He still has friends since he was in seventh grade, and a lot of them are here. It has really been a wonderful ceremony, we are quite proud today," he said.