This Friday, something will happen that has not happened since 1968, a bishop will be ordained in the Diocese of Des Moines. Just to remind you, the bishops since, were ordained a bishop before being assigned to our Diocese.
The ordination of bishop is sometimes called the ordination to the fullness of the priesthood because there are three “levels” of ordination. The first is the diaconate, when a man is ordained to become a deacon, he is ordained into the service of Christ. In the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles realized that they could not do everything, the teaching as well as the service to others, so guided by the Holy Spirit, they ordained seven men to help with the service at table. The next level, is the priesthood itself, but within the ordination of the priest, there is still not a fullness that happens. There are still a few things that a priest cannot do. For example, a priest cannot ordain at all, he cannot even ordain a deacon. He also cannot validly confirm someone unless the bishop allows it. Within the Diocese of Des Moines, the bishops have given a blanket authority to confirm someone at the Easter Vigil, but only those who were not baptized Catholics, that still has to have special permission given. All of the faculties (abilities) of the priest come through the ordination of the chief shepherd of the diocese which is the bishop. The next level and final level of ordination is the bishop himself. This is the highest level of ordination, all other titles are honorary ones only and men are not ordained to be Pope, they are elevated to it.
Within the Church, we have other special titles like monsignor, which is an honorary title that is given to a priest who has done special service to the diocese and is only given at certain times. Another title you will hear is Arch-bishop, and that is given to a bishop of an Arch-Diocese, which is a diocese of special significance, the Arch-Diocese for Des Moines is Dubuque. You will also hear the title of Cardinal, and this is given to bishops of diocese of special significance, the closest Cardinal is Cardinal Cupich of Chicago.
This Friday will be a special day for the Diocese of Des Moines as well as for a particular family within this parish. At St. Francis of Assisi Church, we will see Bishop-Elect William Joensen ordained to the Order of the Episcopacy, along with this, he will be installed as the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, and our new shepherd. During this time, I ask a favor from all of you, and that is to keep Bishop-elect William, his family, Bishop Pates, and all the people of the Diocese in your prayers. This is an exciting time for our entire diocese and we are looking forward to the leadership of the soon to be Bishop William Joensen.