Invitation-only event for episcopal ordination due to space limitations,
vigil open to public
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
December 22, 2005
With each passing day, plans for the episcopal ordination of The Most
Reverend R. Walker Nickless as the seventh Bishop of Sioux City take shape.
"Plans are progressing quite well," said Margaret Fuentes, a member
of the ordination executive planning committee. "We have a number of
committees setup and designated to have responsibility for certain areas of the
In addition to the executive committee, there are 11 subcommittees. The
committees include: ceremony and music, transportation, accommodations,
hospitality at hotel, receptions, ordination and reception environment,
printing, invitations and mailing, communications/media, logistics and master
schedule of event.
"One of the biggest parts is planning the Mass itself and the vespers
service. In addition we have the social aspects of the receptions and planning
for those pieces, but it is all moving ahead quite well," noted Fuentes.
As many as 1,000 people will attend the Jan. 20 ceremony that is slated for
Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. Due to limited space, this is an invitation-only service. This
is the same procedure that was used for the episcopal ordination of Bishop
Daniel N. DiNardo back in 1997.
"The invitations are out. We have sent out a large number of
invitations. I am a little concerned about space in the church, because in the
wintertime everyone has coats and so forth. We will have to watch the RSVPs
closely," she said.
While the episcopal ordination is invitation only, the vigil service to be
held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City is not
an invitation-only ceremony.
"The vigil will be completely open to the public," noted Fuentes.
"There will be a reception following the service in Cathedral Hall, which
is the lower level of the cathedral."
She pointed out that tickets will be issued for the Jan. 20 episcopal
ordination and the reception - a hot and cold hors d'oeuvre buffet - that
follows in the Nativity Parish Hall.
"I want to stress that it is one ticket per person. It is not one ticket
for each couple," she said. "We will be watching the ticket count very
closely. If people do not have their ticket with them - even though they have
been invited and have RSVPed, they will not be admitted to the church that day.
They must have their ticket."
There will be a large number of people from the Denver-area and, as with
Bishop DiNardo's ceremony, there will be representation from every parish in the
Diocese of Sioux City.
"Each pastor is being asked to invite two parishioners. We will be
mailing tickets in care of the pastor for the people that he has selected to
represent the parish," said Fuentes. "We also ask for the parishes
that are not going to send anyone to let us know that and return the tickets to
us so we know exactly what our count is. Given that it is wintertime and there
is a possibility for bad weather, we understand that some parishes may not be
able to send someone."
Along with invited guests as well as clergy from the Archdiocese of Denver
and Diocese of Sioux City, it is anticipated that about 20 to 25 bishops will
attend the ordination.
Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque will be the principal ordaining bishop. He
will be assisted by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver and Bishop Thomas J.
Knowing that many people would like to attend the ordination but will be
unable to because of space limitations, the diocese has worked hard to line-up
extensive media coverage.
Jim Wharton, a member of the executive planning committee, pointed out that
it will be broadcast live on KTIV-TV Channel 4 in Sioux City. Evening news
anchor Matt Breen will be joined by Msgr. Mark Duchaine, pastor at St. Mary
Parishes in Mapleton and Oto, for the telecast. It will also be broadcast by
KSCJ radio of Sioux City. Father Ed Girres, a member of the pastoral team
serving the Webster County Team Parishes, will assist KSCJ's Don Miller for the
"We are in the process of establishing a radio-network in the diocese.
We have received some good preliminary feedback from radio stations.
Potentially, we could have as many as 14 radio stations throughout the diocese
who sign up to provide the broadcast live," he said.
Wharton encouraged parishioners of the diocese to contact their radio station
in their community to ask them to carry the episcopal ordination.
The diocese is also working to set up a live Web-cast feed that would enable
people in all parts of the world to see the ceremony.
"The live Web-cast would be a way for our seminarians in Rome to see the
ordination as well as people in Denver," noted Fuentes.
Currently, the Archdiocese of Denver is investigating the possibility of
doing a satellite up-link to a theatre where people could watch the ordination
(Extensive ordination pre-coverage will appear in the Jan. 12 edition of