Elation runs high as Bishop Matano is installed - Catholic Courier
Nine-year-old Nathan Rivellino, a fourth-grader at St. Kateri School, receives a blessing from Bishop Salvatore R. Matano during the bishop's installation Mass Jan. 3 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Representatives from throughout the diocese greeted the bishop after he took possession of the Diocese of Rochester at the beginning of the Mass. Nine-year-old Nathan Rivellino, a fourth-grader at St. Kateri School, receives a blessing from Bishop Salvatore R. Matano during the bishop's installation Mass Jan. 3 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Representatives from throughout the diocese greeted the bishop after he took possession of the Diocese of Rochester at the beginning of the Mass.

Elation runs high as Bishop Matano is installed

ROCHESTER — Excitement filled the air at Sacred Heart Cathedral early in the afternoon of Jan. 3 as Catholics from all corners of the Diocese of Rochester prepared to welcome their new shepherd, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, who was installed as the diocese’s ninth bishop during a special 2:30 p.m. Mass.

Busloads of local Catholics streamed into the narthex, many wearing joyful grins even as they stamped the snow off their boats and loosened the coats they wore to insulate them from the day’s single-digit temperatures. Meanwhile, six fourth-degree Knights of Columbus in full regalia mingled with the dozens of priests, deacons and seminarians milling around the narthex and chatting in small groups.

One of those Knights, Mike Flanagan, said Bishop Matano already had stopped by to thank the Knights in advance for helping to lead the procession. Flanagan said he and fellow Knights Pat Bovenzi, Tony Coccia, Anthony Angotti, Ken Kruger and Don Bell enjoyed meeting their new leader and were grateful just to be a part of the day’s festivities.

“It’s an honor and a privilege,” Flanagan explained.

Nearby, seminarian Aaron Kelly also expressed his excitement at the prospect of processing into the cathedral with his fellow seminarians as well as dozens of priests and several bishops, including Bishop Matano, Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark and Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, who served as Rochester’s apostolic administrator in the interregnum between Bishop Clark’s retirement and Bishop Matano’s installation.

“I’ve grown up with Bishop Clark as the bishop, so it’s the whole excitement of something brand new,” explained Kelly, who graduated from Horseheads High School last June and currently attends Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception in Douglastown, N.Y.

Bishop Matano’s installation Mass was such an important event that Kelly’s teachers at the seminary excused him from a retreat and allowed him to attend the installation instead.

“Coming to events like this and seeing the people of God so supportive of the bishop, … that whole joy and seeing all the other seminarians and brother priests, it’s just very exciting. It makes me know I’m doing the right thing (by becoming a priest),” Kelly said.

Kelly and his fellow seminarians met Bishop Matano on Jan. 2 and presented him with a portrait of St. John Fisher, patron saint of the Diocese of Rochester. Kelly said he was impressed by Bishop Matano.

“He’s very fatherly. He loves the seminarians and is very supportive of all we do,” he said.

Some of those in attendance at the installation were visiting the cathedral for the first time. Others attended as representatives of fellow parishioners who couldn’t fit inside the cathedral walls. Many thanked their good fortune at securing one of the hottest tickets in town, as many members of the diocesan faithful had vied for the precious seats.

The Coté family of Livonia said they were lucky to get tickets to the Mass through their parish, St. Matthew in Livonia. Yet they had already forged a connection with Bishop Matano several months before he was announced as Rochester’s Bishop when they attended the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the Tridentine Mass) Aug. 15 on the Feast of the Assumption at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington, Vt.

When young Gabriel Coté attended the August Mass, Bishop Matano blessed his crucifix, which had previously been blessed by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI and originally had belonged to Gabriel’s great-uncle, Oblate Father Richard Coté.

After he heard that Bishop Matano was going to be Bishop of Rochester, Gabriel wrote Bishop Matano a letter of welcome, saying he was thrilled and excited that he had already met Rochester’s new bishop.

“I invited him to my school — St. Agnes School in Avon — if it was OK with Dr. Ben,” he added, referring to Principal Gerald Benjamin. Gabriel’s father, Thomas Coté, said his son also invited Bishop Matano to St. Matthew Parish in Livonia.

Gabriel’s excitement at the Mass was echoed by Raymond Kreydatus, a parish council member and maintenance employee with Christ the Redeemer Parish in Elmira. Attending as a representative of Christ the Redeemer’s St. Casimir Church, Kreyatus said he felt very fortunate to attend the Mass in the cathedral, which he was visiting for the first time.

“This is my first time ever to be here, so this is very exciting,” Kreydatus said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

For area residents of Italian ancestry, Bishop Matano’s installation was a source of ethnic pride. He is the first bishop with Italian roots to be appointed Bishop of Rochester, succeeding eight bishops with Irish ancestry.

Carm Caruso, a parishioner of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish who worships at Annunciation Church, said the installation nearly moved him to tears as he thought about all the sacrifices his Italian ancestors had made over the years to build churches in Rochester.

“I never thought that I would see an Italian bishop in Rochester,” he said.

Caruso said he hopes Bishop Matano is able to draw back older generations of Catholics who have fallen away from their faith and who may only attend at Christmas and Easter.

Paolo Saltarello of Auburn said he was ecstatic about Bishop Matano’s installation. He had the chance to meet Bishop Matano moments before the Mass and said he was struck by how personable the bishop was and the fact that he speaks Italian. He said attending the installation was probably one of the highlights of his life.

“We needed him at the diocese,” Saltarello said. “Same as Pope Francis. His welcoming will bring people back.”

Saltarello was not the only one to mention Bishop Matano in the same breath as Pope Francis. Deacon Dave Snyder said he likes what he’s seen so far from both of his new shepherds.

“Other people, even non-Catholics, have told me they like what they see and what they have heard about him, and that they hope he follows in the footsteps of Pope Francis,” said Deacon Snyder, who serves at St. Louis Parish in Pittsford.

“I’m hopeful that he will bring some of the insights and wisdom that Pope Francis has been sharing with the church here in our Diocese of Rochester. It certainly is an exciting time,” added Father Kevin McKenna, the cathedral’s pastor. “He’s got a very challenging mission ahead. I think every bishop understands and appreciates the challenges they have.”

Bishop Matano has a number of qualities that should help him overcome these challenges, Father McKenna noted.

“Bishop Matano’s sense of humor, I think is one of his wonderful qualities. It puts people at peace, and I think it will make a lot of people want to get to know him a little better,” he said.

“He has a wonderful sense of humor. I think he’s very charismatic,” added Sue Reynolds, a parishioner of St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Honeoye Falls.

Felix Mucedola of Auburn said he was impressed by how Bishop Matano mingled briefly before Mass with those who had gathered early at the cathedral.

“He seems like a simple person who will be very good for the diocese and the Catholic Church,” said Felix Mucedola of Auburn.

“I’m sure the bishop will take a liking to Rochester as we to him,” said Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart Sister Barbara Baker, who is pastoral associate and faith-formation director for St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Gates. “I hope that we will be very welcoming to him.”

Last-minute tickets passed along by a friend who was unable to attend allowed several Greece women to be present at the installation.

“As of this morning, we thought we’d be watching this on television,” said Barbara Parkhurst, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Greece.

“We were very excited to see the new bishop installed,” said Gail DiTotto, a parishioner of Our Mother of Sorrows in Greece.

Sacred Heart parishioner Amanuel Malik was able to attend the installation because his 12-year-old son, Kidane, was one of the readers for the Universal Prayer (prayers of the faithful), which was read in seven languages. Kidane said he was honored to be part of the installation Mass, and his father said he was pleased by what he’s learned about Bishop Matano so far. He said he especially appreciates Bishop Matano’s episcopal motto, In Unitatem Fidei (In the Unity of Faith).

According to the program from the installation Mass, “Bishop Matano adopted the phrase ‘In Unitatem Fidei’ from the Latin scriptural passage of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (4:13) and translated as ‘In the Unity of the Faith.’ By choosing this motto, Bishop Matano embraces the Apostle’s conviction that Jesus Christ desires that the entire family of God’s children, working together, strive to attain their fullness of maturity in the unity of the one Faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.”

“Everything is captured in his motto,” Malik said. “He would like to bring all people, not just Catholics, but all people of faith, together as one.”

During the Mass, Bishop Matano was greeted by representatives from the seven regions of the diocese, including priests and deacons, women and men religious, and members of ecumenical, interfaith and civic communities.

Ruth Marren, 17, of Irondequoit and a junior at Our Lady of Mercy High School, was among those representing Catholic schools to formally welcome Bishop Matano during the Mass.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for our schools to make that connection with our bishop,” Ruth said. “The sisters (of Mercy) want him to come and visit our school.”

“It’s really interesting; I’ve never been to the cathedral,” said Andrew Herberger, 10, of Avon, who was representing faith-formation students at the Mass. He attends St. Agnes Parish and Avon Central Schools. “It’s great to be part of history.”

Karla Geraci of Rochester, who attends Peace of Christ Parish at St. John the Evangelist on Humboldt Street, said her husband, Federal Court Justice Frank Geraci, was among the civic officials at the Mass.

“We just wish him all the best,” Karla Geraci said of Bishop Matano. “He’s got big shoes to fill because Bishop Clark was a wonderful bishop. We hope to continue on in that same vein.”

“I thought (the liturgy) was a wonderful welcome to our new bishop and a beautiful send-off to our old bishop,” said Ed Kay of Pittsford, a parishioner of St. Louis in Pittsford and the chair of the diocesan audit committee.

Local priests said they were looking forward to working with their new shepherd.

“For me as a priest ordained five years ago, this is the first experience to go through the joyful process of God giving your flock a shepherd,” said Father Edison Tayag, parochial vicar of St. Charles Borromeo and Holy Name of Jesus parishes in Greece.

Redemptorist Father Paul Miller of Notre Dame Retreat Center in Canandaigua said the installation showed the unity of the church, as all came together as brothers and sisters to celebrate Bishop Matano’s installation.

“He brought us a lot of hope and light,” Father Miller said. “We look forward to the future.”

Retired Father Raymond Booth said the installation Mass was wonderful, uplifting and very positive.

“God willing, he will be a blessing to our diocese and we will be to him,” Father Booth said.

“I think it’s a wonderful experience for us as a diocese to have a new shepherd, and he seems wonderful and warm, and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Father Robert Gaudio, pastor of St. Christopher Parish in North Chili.

Father Louis Vasile, pastor of St. Alphonsus in Auburn, said he feels Bishop Matano is a great gift for the Diocese of Rochester.

“I think he’s a warm, friendly, absolutely humble man who certainly has the best interest of the church in mind,” Father Vasile said.

Father Jim Schwartz, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Penfield, said he found the installation Mass very moving.

“The rituals of the church bring out great joy and leadership,” Father Schwartz said. “It’s a wonderful transition when in prayer and celebration of the Eucharist, we move from one shepherd to the next one.”

“I was just filled with so much joy that our long wait for a new bishop is over,” remarked Sacred Heart parishioner James Pegoni, who served as an usher during the installation Mass and helped clean the cathedral afterwards. “I’m looking forward to the future and what may come.”

Tags: Bishop Salvatore R. Matano
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