Los Angeles officially welcomed its next Roman Catholic archbishop Wednesday with a celebratory Mass that included a bit of just about everything: tears, drama, majesty, song, hats, incense, a cast of thousands, prayer and even a little slapstick humor.
At the end of the two-hour service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, the outgoing archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, told the incoming archbishop, Jose Gomez, that church rules demand that the ceremonial throne for the prelate “must be fitting.” Mahony then invited Gomez to try it out for size.
A bemused Gomez approached the large wooden chair, began to sit, hesitated, looked askance, then finally plopped down. “It’s kind of big,” he said, “but I think I can make it.”
At that, the audience of about 4,000 — including seven cardinals and, by official count, 59 bishops and 411 priests — erupted in cheers, laughter and hearty applause.