Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Why is this bishop a big deal?

I went t get my haircut last night, and I was telling my hairdresser that I was exausted from all the bishop news yesterday. And she asks why is he so important? Then I got paranoid that I hadn't adequately explained it so I actually called work later to tweak the story.

And I thought I would explain a little more here. Basically a bishop is a leader of a geographical region, or diocese. He is a priest who gets promoted and is the head teacher, preacher and pastor of an area.

He is particularly important because Catholics believe in "apostolic succession." After Jesus' death, the 12 apostles spread out across the known world to preach the good news. And Catholics believe that those teachings and practices have been handed down from leader to leader ever since. If you look up former Bishop William Friend on Catholic Hierarchy (which is pretty cool, if you're into Catholic politics), you can find the bishop that ordained him, and the one who ordained that bishop, and so on all the was to the 16th century. Before that, choosing Bishops was a little less formal process, plus I'm guessing the records get foggy.

So Catholic faithful see the bishop as the person trusted by the church - past and present - to carry on its teachings and lead the people to God. In the case of Shreveport, that means supervising 44 congregations and 40,000 believers.


James H said...

I think as we get closer to the Installation with I suspect the Papal Nunico coming down and all the funs stuff dealing with Coat of Arms etc that the public will be more interested. Also we are blessed that this event will come not too long after the Pope's visit. Even though the Holy Father is just venturing into the traditional bastions of American Catholicsim and is sadly not coming to the very vibrant SOuthern and Western Church

It was time for a change and we need someone dynamic. I truly think that the SPiritual health of a Diocese is related to the Bishop. In fact we can see that in several Diocese around the Country.

Diane Haag said...

You're right. The church in the south is certainly growing and thriving, and it would be great for the pope to see that, but then again maybe this will be a shot in the arm to the church in the Northeast.

MS said...

And a bishop receives another indelible mark.

Diane Haag said...

Translation of "indellible mark" for MS: Catholics believe baptism, confirmation and Holy Orders (ordination) all leave a permanent mark on your soul, changing you forever. Men are ordained priests and then, if chosen, they are ordained again as bishops and will always be bishops.

Anonymous said...

Diane, thanks for all your great coverage of this. There's an excitment in the diocese that's been missing for the last year and a half.

I keep hearing more good things about our bishop elect. The future looks bright.