Diocese Anticipates Installation of Bishop Brennan

By Colleen Rowan
On August 22, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Bishop Mark E. Brennan will be installed as the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s ninth bishop. The Episcopal Installation Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling at 2 p.m that day. For this local church, the installation of Bishop Brennan marks a hopeful new chapter for the faithful, the priests, deacons and religious of this diocese.
Bishop Brennan’s installation will be a milestone in the life of the diocese, one that will highlight the breadth of Catholicism across the Mountain State, said Very Rev. James R. DeViese, Jr., J.C.L., J.V., who is on the installation planning committee.
“Catholic organizations, civic leaders, ecumenical representatives, and—most importantly—the Catholic faithful of West Virginia will converge on the cathedral to welcome our new shepherd,” he said. “What most organizations can only describe in words, the church proclaims through the ancient poetry of her ceremonies and prayers, evoking both joy and wonder. … We are filled with anticipation as we prepare to welcome our ninth bishop.”
Also serving on the installation planning committee is Chad Carter, chancellor of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, who said Bishop Brennan’s installation will mark a new beginning for the church in West Virginia.
“This is a very exciting time and a new beginning for our diocese as we welcome Bishop Brennan to lead the people of God in our beautiful Mountain State,” Carter said. “Bishop Brennan’s approachability, gentleness, and pastoral outreach will be true gifts as we work together to build a bright future.”
On the eve of the installation, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and apostolic administrator of Wheeling-Charleston will preside over vespers at the cathedral for which Bishop Brennan will be preaching. Vespers will be held at the cathedral at 6 p.m., Aug. 21.
Bishop Brennan’s Episcopal Installation Mass the next day will be a beautiful moment for the diocesan church and will begin as Bishop Brennan is received by the rector of the cathedral and handed a crucifix to kiss. He will then be presented with holy water to sprinkle himself and the gathered faithful.
The Apostolic Mandate from Pope Francis appointing Bishop Brennan as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston will then be read by Msgr. Walter Erbi, chargé d’affaires of the Vatican Nunciature in Washington. The mandate will then be shown to the diocese’s College of Consultors, the chancellor, and then to the people.
Once Bishop Brennan accepts the mandate, Archbishop Lori and Msgr. Erbi will lead him to the cathedra (or bishop’s chair), where he will be seated as Wheeling-Charleston’s ninth bishop.
Representatives of varying groups and individuals of the diocese will then greet the new bishop and welcome him to the diocese.
Once Bishop Brennan is seated at the cathedra, he becomes the celebrant of the Mass, which will include parts in Spanish, a language in which he is fluent. Bishop Brennan was responsible for ministry and outreach to the Hispanic community during his time as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
“Because of his passion for multi-cultural ministry, especially to the growing Latino population, we have incorporated Spanish music selections and the second reading to be read in Spanish,” said Bernadette Kime, director of the diocesan Office of Worship and Sacraments who is also on the installation planning committee. “Also, being attentive to the various cultures represented in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the intercessions during the Universal Prayer will be prayed in different languages by representatives of these cultural groups across West Virginia.”
“We are very excited for this installation of Bishop Brennan,” she said. “He is so easy to work with.”
Catholic faithful from different parts of the state plan to make the trip to Wheeling to witness this new beginning for their diocese. Michael Kawash of Charleston is one of them. A member of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Kawash is also president of the Charleston Serra Club. He said that the organization is looking forward to the celebration “with hopeful anticipation to this next chapter of history in our diocese. While the need for restoration is mperative, it is evident by all accounts that Bishop Brennan is off to a good start in understanding the wounds and in his resolve to bring healing.”
Shannon Winkelman of St. Bernadette Mission in Hedgesville also hopes to attend the installation. Winkelman, who is also executive assistant to Father George Pucciarelli, priest in residence at the mission, is very happy that Bishop Brennan has been appointed bishop of the diocese.
“I watched his press conference on the diocesan website, and was impressed with his humble demeanor …,” she said. “He seemed genuinely interested in the pastoral needs of the parishioners in our diocese and appears to be committed to reform and moving forward to further the mission of the Catholic Church.”
Those who cannot be present at the cathedral that day, may view Bishop Brennan’s installation online as it will be live streamed on the diocese’s website at www.dwc.org. More information may also be found on the site.