Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bishop Cary At His Cathedral

Sunday, July 1, was the Big Day: Bishop Cary, ordained bishop of the Diocese of Baker on May 18, 2012, made his first visit to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City, Oregon!

I have mentioned all the ins and outs and my irritations with the episcopal ordination not being held at the Cathedral; with the transportation of what is supposed to be a permanently installed cathedra halfway across the state for said ordination; and with the fact that the Cathedral seems to have lost its standing as the mother church of the Diocese. Read all about it here, here, here, and here.

Now, about Sunday’s Mass:

Bishop Cary knocks on the door.
The Mass was preceded by Bishop Cary knocking on the door of the Cathedral and being received by Fr. Julian Cassar, the rector. You can call it the rite of reception if you want, but there’s a problem with that; it was ostensibly done at the ordination in Bend, and so parts of the rite were left out at the Cathedral. In his opening remarks, Bishop Cary said that he was “taking possession of the bishop’s chair, which represents the diocese” – but in point of fact, he had already done that at the ordination in Bend. So…moving along…

Fr. Julian Cassar opens the door.
The music was…a problem. I think that’s just going to be my standard line. But I will add a few things here, because, really, the Cathedral personnel should know better. First of all, there’s the tambourine. Puh-lease. If nothing else, can we please lose the tambourine?! And then there’s the Gloria with a refrain. Did no one at the Cathedral get the memo about that? It’s been said in various places, even by the USCCB I believe, that the Gloria should not have a refrain! These are wonderful musicians; let's use the talents in the way the Church asks.

The miter and crosier bearer
were vested in vimpae.
There were more female than male altar servers, and there was no deacon (I suspect the resident deacon was out of town for some reason). There was one acolyte serving as Master of Ceremonies, vested in cassock and surplice; and there were two other acolytes dressed in albs.

Unlike the Mass at Our Lady of the Valley in La Grande a few weeks ago, this Mass contained not a word of Latin, and not a note of Gregorian chant. The bishop, who has a lovely singing/chanting voice, intoned the Doxology, and I think the standard rule should be that, when he does that, the choir should shut up and let the whole assembly of people respond with the sung, one-word, “Amen”. Instead the choir (folk group) sang the sappy melody that repeats “Amen” three times. Sigh.

Well, on to the homily: a bright point in the Mass! Bishop Cary began by introducing himself and noting that the last six weeks have been, for him, “days of becoming a bishop”, and noted that it is “quite a change”. I imagine so! My prayers are with him on a daily basis as he makes the transition from a parish priest to a parish priest who feels like he’s just pretending to be a bishop,  and then on to a “real” bishop. I have no idea what that might be like, but it’s got to be challenging!

Bishop Cary with St. Francis de Sales
Bishop Cary also mentioned that he has an affinity for St. Francis de Sales, who is the patron saint of the Diocese, and of the Cathedral which is named after him.

For the actual homily, Bishop Cary drew a parallel between the Gospel account of Jairus and his daughter and the Fortnight for Freedom concerning Obamacare and the HHS mandate.   

First he noted that to become a bishop in 2012 was to step into the campaign to protect religious freedom. Jesus, said the bishop, was also in a campaign – he was marching to do battle with death as he made his way to the house of Jairus, with a large crowd following in procession. Along the way, Jesus performed some healing acts for those battling illness. “To be a Christian is to step into that procession to battle death,” said Bishop Cary

Of course, the real battle with death was ultimately on the Cross, said the bishop, and what seemed to be a defeat was in fact a victory.

Bishop Cary went on to say that religious liberty is currently at stake. The HHS mandate “requires Catholics to ignore the teaching of the Church,” he said. “The Church must publicly go against its own teaching and surrender to the moral decisions of the State.

“The government bureaucracy – the HHS – tells us who we are and can be as Catholics,” he added, “by their definition of  ‘religious institution’.  We cease to be Catholics if we employ or serve more non-Catholics than Catholics.

“We used to ask ‘Are you hungry?’ or ‘Are you sick?’ Now we have to ask ‘Are you Catholic?’ We do these things – feed the hungry and take care of the sick – because we are Catholics…not because they are.”

The bishop also noted that “religious liberty is not a right the government gives us; it is a right the government owes us because it comes from God Himself.” He concluded by encouraging all to deepen our resolve to take steps to make sure that this same freedom is handed on to those who come after us.

It was a pleasure to listen to a homily where a real issue is discussed!

Bishop Cary was not able to grant me an interview after all, as his schedule was packed and he was heading out on the 5-hour drive back to Bend right after the Spanish Mass. Another time, perhaps…

Here are a few more photos:

It would be nice to get rid of the dining room table cloth and vest this altar
in a real antependium. It always bothers me when the flowers are taller
than the altar!

Another view of the miter and crosier bearer
in their vimpae

It is really a lovely Cathedral.

The cathedral wasn't packed, but there was a sizeable crowd.

My husband Jerry with Bishop Cary

For related posts, click on the “Bishop Liam Cary Posts” tab at the top of the page.


  1. Having for the first time witnessed the new Bishop celebrate the Eucharist I can only say that he is one of the most reverent celebrants I have seen in a long time. He also has an excellent singing voice---oh would it be nice at some point to have him celebrate ( and sing ) in Latin!

  2. Bishop Cary and the rest of the US bishops have things twisted. The primacy of conscience belongs to individual humans, not organizations. That includes church sponsored organizations.

    If Catholics do not want to use the services offered by the newly justified health plan for the US, then it is their right to do so. But there are many Catholics who will want to use these services, especially contraception. Of course, the non-Catholics who use the services of a Catholic organization such as a hospital, ought not to be coerced into accepting the Catholic view.

    Bishop Cary and the rest of the bishops forget this is a country made up of diverse peoples and religions. We ought to respect that!

  3. Do you seriously believe that "individual conscience" has primacy? That's just moral relativism carried to the extreme. When "individual conscience" reigns, you have anarchy.

    A Catholic organization has (or ought to have) the right to provide services as they see fit. Individuals who have a different moral view may go elsewhere for the prohibited services. The Church has a duty to act morally. Why should the Catholic Church be coerced into accepting the individual's view?

    1. Check the long tradition in the Catholic Church
      about the primacy of conscience. Yes, Catholics
      need to be informed of the Church's teaching and
      position, but after careful consideration, the Catholic has the RIGHT to follow his or her conscience
      despite being at odds with church teaching if this is what his or her conscience tells him or her to do!!!!

    2. LOL! Check the long tradition in the Catholic Church about how to properly form one's conscience! And actually, a person has a DUTY (not just a right) to follow his conscience, even if it's wrong...that's where the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" phrase comes from. But if one knows one's conscience is "at odds" with Church teaching, one has the duty and responsibility to try to understand Church teaching and conform one's conscience accordingly.


Please be courteous and concise.