Providentially, I was able to spend the 20th anniversary of my ordination to the episcopate at the Convent of the Transfiguration in Cincinnati, the community I am priveleged to serve as Bishop Visitor. They surprised me with the kind of simple celebration they do for their own Sisters’ Profession anniversaries — an “anniversary” cake and ice cream after dinner and serenading me with a specially-written “hymn” (“Twenty Years He’s Been a Bishop” sung to the tune of “Lo, my tongue the mystery telling!”). Very sweet!
More solemnly, I was able to celebrate the daily Eucharist this morning, using the same Eucharistic Prayer (D) that we used twenty years ago today at my consecration. The only other gesture I chose to make was closing the Prayers of the People with a prayer bishops offer hundreds of times during their episcopate at ordinations and during Holy Week. Perhaps more than any other, this prayer has guided my decisions and actions as a bishop (and, I believe) those of many other bishops of our church:
“O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
May it be so. In our church…and in our world.