New auxiliary bishop ordained for D.C.

WASHINGTON - In a liturgy marked by joy and gratitude, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville was ordained as a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington April 20 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

After Communion, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl presented the new bishop to the assembly, as they sang a hymn of thanksgiving. Then cascades of applause filled the cathedral, as Bishop Dorsonville, joined by the cardinal, smiled and walked down the center and then the side aisles, blessing the congregation.

The standing room-crowd filling the majestic cathedral included staff and volunteers from Catholic Charities, where he recently served as the vice president of mission, and the Spanish Catholic Center, where he earlier served as director. Another section of the cathedral was filled with seminarians, including those from the archdiocese's St. John Paul II Seminary, where the future bishop was adjunct spiritual director.

Bishop Dorsonville, a 54-year-old native of Colombia, will be episcopal moderator for the estimated 270,000 Hispanic Catholics in the archdiocese.

Before the Mass, members of the Neocatechumenal Way stood at the bottom of the cathedral's outside steps, joyfully singing songs in Spanish, accompanied by guitars, tambourines and a drum, with about two dozen people forming an impromptu dance line.

The opening procession included about 125 priests and a dozen bishops, who walked down the center aisle as the cathedral's Schola Cantorum led the congregation in singing the entrance hymn "Church of God Elect," with organ and brass accompaniment.

In his homily at the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl noted that a bishop has the responsibility to lead the flock entrusted to his care. "Pope Francis tells us we are to go out, encounter and accompany all those we hope to bring to the Lord," he said.

Addressing the new bishop, the cardinal promised that, "Our prayers, the prayers of all the clergy, religious and faithful of this diocesan church are, at this moment, for you and your ministry. As you face the challenges of episcopal service, we pray that you will be constantly sustained by God's grace. May we always see in your ministry the joy of the Lord and the face of the mercy of God."

Cardinal Wuerl said that Pope Francis lives out the "joy of the Gospel" and invites others to experience the joy of the risen Christ. "May that joy always fill your heart," the cardinal said, addressing Bishop Dorsonville in his homily.

During the Mass, the cardinal, the principal ordaining bishop, laid hands on Bishop-designate Dorsonville's head, the key sacramental gesture in the ordination. The gesture was repeated by the two principal co-ordaining bishops, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, and then by the other participating bishops, including Washington Auxiliary Bishops Martin D. Holley and Barry C. Knestout, and retired Washington Auxiliary Bishop Francisco González.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015