Three new bishops ordained for archdiocese

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Monday, September 17, 2018

Archdiocese ordains three new bishops

On Sept. 17, 2018 Cardinal Cupich ordained Bishops Mark Bartosic, Robert Casey and Ronald Hicks as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago during a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral.
Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre hugs Bishop-elect Mark Bartosic after giving him the letter from Pope Francis appointing him a bishop. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
On right from front to back, Bishops-elect Mark Bartosic, Robert Casey and Ronald Hicks sign their pledges of fidelity to the Holy Father prior to their ordination as bishops. Cardinal Cupich also witnessed the documents. Archdiocesan Chancellor Deacon Dan Welter administered the signing. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The pledges of fidelity written in Latin. The men had to swear their fidelity on bibles. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Seminarians and deacons process into the cathedral at the start of Mass. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Francis Kane, Cardinal Cupich and Bishop George Rassas stand in front of the altar at the start of the rite of ordination. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop-elect Mark Bartosic holds up to the congregation the letter from Pope Francis appointing him a bishop for Chicago. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
An archdiocesan priests smiles during Mass. (Julie Jaidenger/Chicago Catholic)
From left, Bishop-elect Ronald Hicks, Cardinal Cupich, Bishop-elect Robert Casey and Bishop-elect Mark Bartosic lie prostrate before the altar as the congregation prays the Litany of the Saints. The other bishops in the sanctuary kneel. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
Deacons hold Books of the Gospel over the heads of Bishops Ronald Hicks, Robert Casey and Mark Bartosic. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich anoints the head of Bishop Ronald Hicks with chrism oil. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich presents the ring to Bishop Robert Casey. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich presents the miter to Bishop Mark Bartosic. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich presents the crosier to Bishop Mark Bartosic. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Robert Casey blesses the congregation as he and the other new bishops processed through the cathedral after receiving the symbols of a bishop. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Mark Bartosic receives the kiss of peace from a fellow bishop. (Julie Jaidenger/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich exchanges the kiss of peace with Bishop Ronald Hicks. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishops Robert Casey and Ronald Hicks hold the Eucharist during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishops Mark Bartosic, Robert Casey and Ronald Hicks process out of Mass. (Natalie Battaglia/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Bishop Mark Bartosic blesses a woman after Mass. (Julie Jadinger/Chicago Catholic)

Cardinal Cupich ordained Bishops Mark Bartosic, Robert Casey and Ronald Hicks in front of a packed congregation in Holy Name Cathedral Sept. 17.

In a 2½-hour liturgy that included both solemn and lighthearted moments, Cardinal Cupich cited Pope Francis, saying that a good shepherd must sometimes walk ahead of his sheep, sometimes walk among them and sometimes follow them.

“Bravery and courage, compassion and affection, humility and an openness to being led—those are the qualities of a good shepherd,” Cardinal Cupich said.

The Mass was concelebrated by about 200 priests and 26 bishops, including Auxiliary Bishops Francis Kane and George Rassas, both of whom are retiring. Bishops Kane and Rassas served as co-consecrators with Cardinal Cupich and led the committee that planned the ordination.

Bishops have a three-fold ministry, the cardinal said: proclaiming the Word, tending the flock and mediating the presence of God’s holiness in our midst to be genuine and life-giving.

Doing so means working to draw people into a dialogue with God and being attentive to them – especially those who have been ignored for too long, he said.  

“That attentiveness must be given especially to the poor, Pope Francis tells us, for they oftentimes are sensitive to values and aspects of Christian morality that the powerful and educated overlook,” Cardinal Cupich said. “And in this moment of great shame for the church, the poorest among us are the victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse. The bravery and courage they have shown have challenged a complacency that for too many decades ignored the pain of a child, and was shamefully more preoccupied with institutional self-protection and image. We have done much to cleanse the church of that disordered, conscience-shocking way of doing things, but we must do more to hear the cries of all those who have been injured, and take up anew the path of healing and justice.”

The first reading for the Mass came from the book of Wisdom, and in it, the writer pleads for prudence and the spirit of wisdom to come to him.

“That wisdom is needed now more than ever as we work to set things right, to order the life of the church in a way that shuns sin and roots out corruption, that shatters the illusion that some are privileged and protected, deserving of special treatment and exempt from accountability,” Cardinal Cupich said.

To express that need for wisdom, he said, he asked all the bishops present to kneel for the Litany of the Saints while the priests, deacons and laypeople in the congregation remained standing. Cardinal Cupich joined the three bishops-elect in lying prostrate on the sanctuary floor while everyone present prayed for the saints’ intercession.

Before the litany, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the letters Pope Francis wrote to the three men appointing them bishops. After reading them, he gave each of the bishops-elect his letter, and the three of them carried them through the congregation, and then each of them promised their fidelity to the mission of the church.

After the litany, Cardinal Cupich, his co-consecrators and all of the bishops present laid their hands on the new bishops’ heads. That was followed by the prayer of consecration and the anointing of each new bishop’s head with chrism, a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

After being anointed, the new bishops received the symbols of their office: the book of the Gospels, which represents the bishops’ ministry of preaching and teaching; and the ring, miter and crosier.

Their ordination raises the number of active auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese from six to seven, leading Cardinal Cupich to joke that Bishop Rassas and Bishop Kane were delighted that it would take three new bishops to replace them.

The three new auxiliary bishops were all ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago after completing their studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in 1994.

Two of them – Bishop Casey and Bishop Hicks – were born and raised in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bishop Bartosic, who was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Ohio, came to Chicago to pursue a career as an actor before switching gears and entering the seminary.

Bishop Casey will become the episcopal vicar for Vicariate III, which extends west from downtown Chicago. Bishop Alberto Rojas, who has been in Vicariate III since 2011, will become episcopal vicar of Vicariate I, which takes in Lake County and the northwest suburbs. It has been administered by Bishop Rassas.

At the end of the Mass, Bishop Casey addressed the congregation.

“How wonderful it is to spend the afternoon with you, giving thanks to God,” he said. “I am grateful for this opportunity to deepen my commitment to serve the church. … As we come to know one another, I hope you come to trust me as a shepherd in this church.”

Bishop Bartosic will become episcopal vicar for Vicariate II, which includes much of the North Side and north suburbs. It has been administered by Bishop Kane.

Bishop Bartosic started his remarks by telling the congregation, “I love being a Chicago priest.”

He said he doesn’t know much yet about being a bishop, but he quoted his late father, saying “‘I have been in over my head my whole life.’ It was his way of challenging us to live our faith forward.”

Bishop Hicks will remain in his position as vicar general of the archdiocese.

While all three also gave remarks in Spanish, Bishop Hicks spoke in Spanish first. He talked about how his time at a Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos home for orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico changed the course of his life. On his first day there, after being introduced to the 65 third- and fourth-grade boys he would spend a year caring for, one of them threw an orange and it hit him square on the head. With orange juice dripping down his face, he said, he wondered, “What have I gotten myself into?”

At the ordination Mass, he said, the chrism used to anoint his head trickled through his hair and down his neck, and he wondered the same thing.

“I just said yes to becoming a bishop in a time when that doesn’t seem that easy,” he said. “I know I have a lot to learn. But I know that the same God who has loved me and has been with from the day of my birth is going to continue to love me, and not only love me but love the church, and meet us and guide us forever.”


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