“Humility, trust and surrender, all qualities of the Mother of Our Lord and so many saints before us, will lead us to hope, healing, and joy.” — Bishop Thomas A. Daly, Bishop of Spokane, Washington
After Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, had read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Mandate appointing Bishop Thomas A. Daly to be the seventh Bishop of Spokane, Daly received his new crozier and cathedra, and the cathedral, filled to capacity, erupted in spontaneous applause. Both the crozier and cathedra were used by the first bishop of Spokane, Augustine Schinner, whose episcopal motto was Pro Deo, “For God,” which is inscribed on the cathedra, the bishop’s chair of office.
In his first homily as Bishop of Spokane, Bishop Daly recounted St. Paul’s exhortation to the priests at Ephesus to “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock which the Holy Spirit appointed you overseers” (Acts 20:28-38). He then discussed the role of priests, the importance of vocations to the priesthood, and alluded to Bishop Charles White, the second bishop of Spokane, who ended his last sermon before dying with a plea for prayer and penance. Prayer and penance. Reminding his new flock of the challenges of remaining faithful to the Church and its teachings in our era of secular materialism, Bishop Daly advised prayer and fasting as a remedy to the distractions of this age.
Daly identified the contemporary distraction with technology as one of the principal disruptions in our connection to Christ, and he spoke of the need for silence to facilitate a genuinely fruitful relationship with God. Echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s admonition that technology without God is dangerous, Daly exhorted those present at his installation Mass to listen for God’s voice in the silence that is increasingly difficult to find in our noisy society. On Easter Sunday of 2012, Pope Benedict asserted that, “If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other ‘lights,’ that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk.” Daly recommended Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a useful antidote to the diversions of modern technology, and praised the current renewal of Eucharistic Adoration among young Catholics.
In the first moments of the installation Mass, the Diocesan administrator, Fr. Michael Savalesky, spoke of the “Great Fire of 1889” in Spokane, when Spokane’s Catholics transported the remaining bricks of what had been destroyed to use for the construction of the new cathedral. Spokane’s Catholics have weathered several storms in its one-hundred-year history, and Bishop Daly’s devotion to Mary, like that of his predecessors, is a sign to many that Our Lady continues to watch over the Catholics of Eastern Washington State.
After recalling that the Diocese of Spokane’s cathedral is the only cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, noting his devotion to Saint Vincent DePaul and the Miraculous Medal, and acknowledging his Lasallian education, Bishop Daly prompted those present at his installation to invoke the saints. “Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us; Saint Vincent DePaul, Pray for us; Live Jesus in our hearts forever,” he prayed. Entrusting Eastern Washington’s Catholics to the patronage and intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, Spokane’s new bishop left his cathedral in a grand procession of clergy and Knights of Columbus, with what appeared to be tears in his eyes. Spokane’s new pastor revealed himself to be a man of the Church, a man of the people of God, and more than anything a man committed to leading his flock toward a destiny far greater than what the world can offer—an eternity with Christ and his Mother in heaven.
After the evening prayer service, the night before his installation, attended by both Bishop Emeritus of Spokane, William Skylstad and now Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, Spokane’s previous bishop, I briefly met Bishop Daly. He was, as expected, surrounded with clergy, religious, and lay faithful hoping to shake hands with their new pastor. After introducing myself as “his archivist,” he smiled and said, “Oh, you’re the person who works with the Church in China.”
“Yes,” I said, “We’re all happy you’re here. Welcome to Spokane.” I was surprised that Bishop Daly knew who I was, but he appears to be a bishop who cares about people, because people are why the Church was established in the first place.
“Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us; Saint Vincent DePaul, Pray for us; Live Jesus in our hearts forever.”
Related on CWR: “Bishop Daly prepares to take the helm in Spokane”: An interview with Jim Graves (April 21, 2015)
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