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 CNS Story:

DINOIA-ORDAIN Jul-13-2009 (730 words) With photos. xxxn

Family recalls newly ordained Archbishop Di Noia's early calling

By Angela Cave
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It was clear Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia would become a priest from the age of 11, when he would regularly celebrate Mass for his younger cousins using a box covered in cloth as an altar and sugar wafers as hosts.

"They all honored him as a priest at that age," said Alfred Mancuso, Archbishop Di Noia's uncle and confirmation sponsor 53 years ago. "He had that feeling way back."

Mancuso was not surprised, then, when Archbishop Di Noia was ordained an archbishop July 11 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. But it was still a big occasion.

"It's devastating, in fact," Mancuso said to describe the overwhelming nature of the day.

An estimated 2,500 people turned up to witness the ordination of the new secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, which oversees matters concerning the liturgy and sacraments. The crowd was the biggest William Wooten has seen at an ordination in his 12 years as basilica security director.

Concelebrants included three cardinals, two ordaining bishops, 14 bishops and 148 priests.

The Gospel was Jesus' prayer for priests: "As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in faith."

In his homily, Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained a bishop's Christ-like, threefold role as priest, teacher and shepherd.

"The whole of heaven casts its gaze upon you in response to the prayers of the church," Cardinal Levada said, addressing Archbishop Di Noia. "Here today, the prayers of all the saints will lift you up from above."

Archbishop Di Noia lay prostrate in a gesture of abandonment to Christ, and the ordaining bishops and other bishops imposed their anointed hands on his head. The Book of the Gospels was held over his head to represent a renewed commitment to the truth of the Gospel while the prayer of ordination was said. His head was then anointed with chrism, which was described as "none other than the Holy Spirit."

The new archbishop received the ring as a sign of spiritual marriage to the church, the miter as a sign of his call to be a herald of truth and the crosier or pastoral staff as a sign of his office as a spiritual shepherd.

Just as his prostration showed humility to Christ, Archbishop Di Noia proved humble in his concluding remarks.

Though there was a temptation to congratulate himself, he said, "it is to God that the glory belongs."

His voice broke when he mentioned his Dominican roots. A native of New York, he was ordained a priest of the order in 1970 and taught at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington for 20 years.

This was a poignant moment for Dominican Sister Pat Walsh, who traveled to the ordination on a bus with Dominican nuns, lay Dominicans and laypeople from the New York dioceses of Rockville Centre and Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York.

"He's my Dominican brother," Sister Pat said, pointing out that his crosier was passed down from a Dominican. The fact that he's an American and a man from the Bronx also makes the day historic, she told Catholic News Service. "He might be the next pope, who knows?"

Dominican Father John Farren of the Manhattan borough of New York City also said he was proud that a fellow Dominican was ordained to this position. Father Farren, who served 12 years in Rome, also knows that Archbishop Di Noia is the right man for the job.

"He's somebody who knows Rome," Father Farren said, adding that he cares about the church and its deep dimension instead of just politics. "His perspective is one that I think is exactly what's needed in this position."

The importance of the ordination was not lost on others in the crowd.

"If you've got somebody coming into the church whose formation is great, then it's really powerful," said Barbara Lopes-Dias, a parishioner in the Diocese of Oakland, Calif.

Sandi Perez, also from California, was visiting the basilica on ordination day without knowing what was happening.

"It was a very pleasant surprise," Perez told CNS. "You feel good inside after you've seen something like this."


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