The Installation of Archbishop-elect Jason Gordon as the 11th Archbishop of Port of Spain on December 27 should not be confused with an ordination.
Canon 1008 in the Code of Canon Law states: “By divine institution some among Christ’s faithful are, through the sacrament of order, marked with an indelible character and are thus constituted sacred ministers; thereby they are consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they fulfill, in the person of Christ the Head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling, and so they nourish the people of God.” Canon 1009 further states: “The orders are the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate.”
Archbishop-elect Gordon was ordained Bishop of Bridgetown on September 21, 2011. He is therefore already ordained a Bishop and so will be ‘INSTALLED’ as the Archbishop of Port of Spain.
“The installation is liturgy in the Cathedral Church in the presence of the clergy and the faithful; it’s about taking possession of the diocese and being installed as the bishop of the diocese,” said Fr John Persaud, General Secretary of the Antilles Episcopal Conference who is versed in Canon Law. He was interviewed on December 11 about the changes which occur in the transition from one archbishop to another.
He explained, “When the Holy Father is making provision for a diocese, he can appoint a priest as Bishop, in which case the man will have to be ordained usually by three bishops, one being the principal consecrator.” The pope can also make an appointment by moving a bishop from one diocese to another. This happened when Archbishop Emeritus Edward Gilbert, the Bishop of Roseau, Dominica was appointed to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain March 13, 2001 and installed May 5 that year.
There was a “slight difference” when Archbishop Harris succeeded Archbishop Gilbert. Harris was appointed coadjutor Auxiliary Bishop of Port of Spain working alongside Gilbert, Fr Persaud said, “The moment Archbishop Gilbert turned 75 years, automatically he (Harris) became the archbishop and was therefore installed.” This is because a Coadjutor Bishop has the right of succession.
For a new bishop to take possession of his diocese he must show the apostolic letters—the letter from the Holy Father appointing him as Bishop of the Diocese—to the College of Consultors in the presence of the Chancellor of the Curia, who must make a note of the fact. This is done in a liturgical act in the Cathedral Church. One of the symbolic acts of the installation is the ‘seating’ of the new bishop in his Cathedra— Latin for ‘chair’ which is in the Cathedral Church.
“The moment he sits there in that seat he assumes responsibility for the archdiocese,” Fr Persaud said. The seating according to the programme for the liturgy, takes place after the Apostolic Mandate is read.
In a separate interview, Cathedral Administrator Msgr Christian Pereira said the coat of arms of Archbishop Harris will be removed from the chair and the new coat of arms of Archbishop Gordon will be installed. – LPG