On March 29, the eve of his installation as Archbishop of Louisville, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre decreed an age-old ritual by knocking three times on the doors of the mother church from where he will lead nearly 200,000 Catholic faithful.
Bishop Fabre will be installed as the 10th bishop and fifth archbishop of Louisville on March 30 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
Entering the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown LouisvilleBishop Fabre prayed Solemn Vespers, where he shared with the clergy, laity and religious gathered together that Jesus Christ needs them, that the Church needs them and that he needs them.
Bishop Fabre expressed his gratitude.
“I am grateful to be here in this cathedral and grateful that you are here with me,” he said. “What a blessing it is for me to be called to be part of the family here in this wonderful archdiocese.”
He also thanked his predecessor, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, saying, “I am honored to have the opportunity to build on your good work here.”
Bishop Fabre told his listeners that an archdiocese is often thought of in an abstract way, but the “reality is that we are the archdiocese.”
“The Archdiocese is you good people…you and me. We are over 180,000 Catholics together,” he said. “We are 110 uniquely beautiful parishes in harmony with whoever serves you as archbishop. The Archdiocese of Louisville is a special people with a rich history and a unique personality. … We are the Archdiocese of Louisville and, my friends, we are in the same boat. I need you, the Lord Jesus needs you, and the church here needs you.
Bishop Fabre drew the attention of the congregation to the Bible reading from the second chapter of the book of James in which the apostle speaks to early Christians about the importance of faith and works.
“The Apostle James speaks to us tonight with these very words. Our words express our faith. Our work makes visible to the world the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our work, not only in the name of Jesus, but with Jesus, reveals Jesus to a world that desperately needs his guidance and mercy,” Bishop Fabre said.
He went on to say that it was important that this work be done together.
Unity, he said, does not mean that individuals share the same vocation, do the same thing or share the same titles. Unity, however, means that they serve the same God.
“There is only one savior, Jesus Christ. There is one mission: to make disciples. Our unity leads us to respect the common responsibility that is ours together, as we all recognize each of our individual gifts,” he said.
Bishop Fabre sent a message to priests, deacons and men and women religious:
- To his “brother priests” he said: “The people of God, whom we serve, need you. Your pastoral leadership and presence are essential to the continued pastoral growth of our people.
“I need the best you are, the best you can offer. We’re in this together.” Bishop Fabre then promised his priests, “I will give you the best of myself in the service of faith and I pray that we can be united together in this effort.”
- To deacons he said, “The diaconal call to service is a sacred privilege. … I have always been grateful for the tireless service of deacons. I am also grateful for the many ways your wives allow you to serve the church. Their willingness to share you with the church is a great gift. He added: “I will give you my service and my humility towards the faith.”
- To men and women religious, he said: “You gave your heart to the Lord in total availability. At the center of the vocation to religious life is a call to availability to your religious community and to sharing your particular charism at the service of the people of God. I, this evening, I reaffirm my total availability to the Lord in faith.
- To the lay faithful, he said, “We all share a common call from the Lord to dedicate our lives to the Gospel. Each of us is unique in the particular way we, as the Apostle James urges us to, demonstrate the faith that underpins our work.
The Archbishop urged them all to be united in their common work.
“The Archdiocese is one people and we are always stronger when we are united in the service of the Lord,” he said. “The Archdiocese of Louisville is us, you and me. It is a community of believers, of disciples who together make a way of life. … Each of us, in his particular vocation, has a role to play in the mission of Jesus Christ. Each of us must profess the faith and practice it.