week a group of us from Holy Trinity were among over 3000 participants
in an extraordinary liturgy: the Episcopal Ordination of the Most
Reverend Alexander Salazar. The Greek word episkopos, which means
overseer or supervisor, is the English term for bishop.
Bishop Salazar will serve the people of the
San Pedro Pastoral Region of the LA Archdiocese, replacing Bishop
Joseph Sartoris who has retired.
The grand liturgical procession began with a
group of Ecumenical Ministers from various faiths, including 2 Buddhist
monks, a beautiful expression of our support for one another in these
times of uncertainty. Next were the Deacons and their wives. This too, a
wonderful expression of their married partnership in pastoral
ministry. The incense bearer, and cross and candle bearers lead 300
priests, flanked two across, and clad in matching vestments of golden
linen. Another 20 or so Bishops were followed by Cardinal Mahony.
Every part of the liturgy was expressed to
its fullest: a large choir and orchestra lead the music, the sacred
scriptures were proclaimed in a multi-lingual fashion with great effort
for spirited aural communication. Incense billowed; vessels were
large, lovely and created of the finest of materials. Video cameras
were rolling and the press highly visible, but for all the pomp and
circumstance one aspect presented itself clearly above all the rest: the
humility of this servant of God.
The prostrate figure of Bishop Salazar
lying flat on the marble Cathedral floor in front of the massive altar
with the assembly singing together the Litany of the Saints was deeply
moving. There he lay, head down and vulnerable, calling for the aid of
the Saints, represented in the tapestries which line the Cathedral
walls, and giving himself totally in the service of God’s people;
specifically for us, in the region of San Pedro. (November 14, 2004)