...Tony's in Canberra, and Julian's in Hobart. Te Deum and all that, and not before time!
Having motored down to Hobart after work, I arrived at St Mary's Cathedral a good 70 minutes early: hence I actually got a seat in the nave. It was standing room only by the time the Premier and finally the Governor arrived for their reserved seats.
After "welcome to country", His Grace was welcomed at the doors of the Cathedral, and, coming in and up past the altar to before the tabernacle, he and all present knelt in silent prayer, the choir singing Bruckner's evocative Locus iste. After retiring to vest, he returned in procession with the ministers and concelebrating priests, bishops and archbishops, as the congregation and choir, accompanied by organ and brass ensemble, sang "Be thou my vision".
The Papal mandate was read by the Nuncio entirely in Latin, and very good Latin, too. I was pleased to realize that I could follow what was being said; for the benefit of us all, however, the Vicar General then read an English translation. How good to hear His Holiness exhort us to rejoice in our new Archbishop, and ever stick by him.
At the paying of homage to His Grace, the priests of the archdiocese came forward one by one, accompanied by parishioners representing their parish. I was struck by how very aged – no offence intended – were both the priests and the majority of the parish representatives.
One thing only marred the otherwise devout and beautiful ceremony, blessed with soaring music (such as C. V. Stanford's superlative Te Deum at the end) and excellent preaching: a mistress of ceremonies presided at the lectern, her locus of power being the superintendence of the lay readers (the lectionary being too holy for their hands) and psalm singer (who wasn't even allowed to hold his own music).
The ABC news today reports that, while "St Marys Cathedral has used middle-aged women as altar servers in the past... [Archbishop] Porteous says he prefers children and men to take on the role, to encourage them into the priesthood." Just as our new Prime Minister has started sacking senior public servants, so our new Archbishop is making his views clear.