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Gonzaga Hosts Historic Installation for Bishop Cupich

Bishop Blase Cupich was installed as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center on Friday, Sept. 3. Photo by Rajah Bose.during his Installation ceremony Sept. 3, 2010 at Gonzaga University McCarthey Athletic Center. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Bishop Blase Cupich was installed as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane at Gonzaga University's McCarthey Athletic Center on Sept. 3. Photo by Rajah Bose.

SPOKANE, Wash. – In a ceremony reaffirming Gonzaga University’s central connection to its Catholic identity, the University hosted some 5,000 members of the faithful to witness the historic installation of Bishop Blase Cupich as leader of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane earlier this month.

More than 30 bishops from across the country, leaders and students from 17 Catholic schools throughout the Inland Northwest and Gonzaga University, and parishioners Diocesewide filled the McCarthey Athletic Center Sept. 3 to witness the event. It had been more than three decades since the Spokane Diocese had come together for such an occasion; the last time was the installation of Bishop Lawrence Welsh in 1978. Bishop Cupich leads approximately 90,000 Catholics in 80 parishes.

bishop2_rajah boseDuring his homily, Bishop Cupich told parishioners they must hold fast to their faith and support their Church. Behind and to the right of the bishop is Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. Photo by Rajah Bose.

The faithful gave the bishop a warm Gonzaga welcome during the Mass of Installation. Bishop Cupich, 61, was appointed to the Spokane Catholic Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI, and is the sixth bishop of Spokane. He replaces retiring Bishop William S. Skylstad.

At the beginning of the Mass, Archbishop Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read the official hand-lettered document from Pope Benedict XVI appointing Bishop Cupich to the Spokane See. Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett led Bishop Cupich to the bishop’s chair. Archbishop Sambi presented the crosier, or bishop’s staff, to Bishop Cupich, who took his seat in the chair, completing the transfer of authority from Bishop Skylstad to Bishop Cupich.

Before the appointment, Bishop Cupich was Bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D. Among other roles, he has been an active member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and serves as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on the Protection for Children and Young People.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said Gonzaga and the local Church have maintained a strong and positive relationship for more than 120 years. “It is Gonzaga’s honor and privilege, as a Work of the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church, to host this joyous event and to actively participate in the welcome of our new Bishop,” President McCulloh said.

Bishop Cupich expressed his appreciation to Gonzaga and President McCulloh.

“I consider the presence of Gonzaga University a great grace for the Diocese and the wider community. Both the University and the Diocese share a common mission in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, albeit in different ways. The University can count on me being a good friend,” Bishop Cupich said. “The generous offer of President McCulloh to host my installation is a great source of encouragement to me, and I am very grateful. This favor allowed us to accommodate a larger crowd so that everyone who wanted to could attend. It also speaks well of the University’s openness to being available to service in the community and the Church.”

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