Philadelphia bishop celebrates mass

By John Solewin
December 3, 2009

Bishop Timothy Senior, Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Philadelphia, honored the Cabrini community with a visit and celebration mass on Sunday, Nov. 22.

Bishop Senior was elevated to his current position by Pope Benedict back in May and was formally ordained on July 31 by Cardinal Justin Rigali. In response to a letter of congratulations from Dr. George on behalf of the Cabrini community, the Bishop said that he would love to visit the college.

With the assistance of Cabrini’s Father Michael Bielecki, arrangements were made for the November visit. Senior, a native of Upper Gwynedd and a graduate of Lansdale Catholic High School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, most recently served as the diocesan Vicar of Clergy. In that role he was charged with overseeing a variety of ministries, including policies pertaining to the life and ministry of priests, formation of candidates for ordination and vocations.

In his homily, the Bishop spoke to the Cabrini community about how everyone is unique and has special gifts to share. He said that it is through prayer and the sharing of our gifts by serving others, that we become a part of God’s kingdom. In keeping with that message, he then offered blessings for the Cabrini students that share their gifts with the college community at the Sunday evening services through lecturing, singing in the choir, altar serving and administering the Eucharist.

Nikie McCabe, freshman biology major, said she had never been installed as a Eucharistic minister before, and was excited to do it.

Amy and Peter Kroeckel parents of newly installed lector, Brandon Kroeckel, a freshman communication major, said “The mass was beautiful and we’re proud of everything Brandon is doing.”

Following the mass, Bishop Senior chatted with faculty, alumni, members of the Board of Trustees and students at a reception held in the Mansion. The reception included a variety of cakes and fondue and hot chocolate, which was a hit with everyone.

The reception was also a time for reflection on the homily in mass. Chris Catagnus, junior biology major, said “Bishop Senior made me think about different ways I can serve God, other than Sunday nights.

Bryan Churchey, junior history major, agreed, “Getting involved with the Wolfington Center and campus ministry could be a good start.”

When asked how he found out that he was going to become a Bishop, he said, “Cardinal Rigali called me at my mom’s on May 25 and I immediately thought something was wrong. The Cardinal told me that I might want to sit down and then said that I was to be the new auxiliary bishop. I was sworn to secrecy until the Papal announcement was made on June 8.”

He said that his responsibilities include, among other things, acting as the Diocese chief financial officer, overseeing 70 of the Diocese’s 279 parishes and, of course, celebrating confirmations.

He says that he likes to follow Philadelphia’s Big Five college basketball and still misses Boston College since their withdrawal from the Big East Conference. In true Philly fashion, when asked if he is a Phillies and Eagles fan, he replied, “Isn’t everyone?”

John Solewin

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