Among the nearly 3,000 who witnessed the installation of Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre as the fifth Archbishop of Louisville March 30, were directors of various archdiocesan offices who said they are encouraged by his message of working together.
During his first homily as the Archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Fabre said the Archdiocese of Louisville is not a building on Poplar Level Road but “it’s people; it’s you and me and all of us together. … We are in this together.”
M. Annette Mandley-Turner, executive director of the Office of Multicultural Ministry, who attended the installation with
her family, said the event was “truly a gift from God.”
“My grandkids witnessed that. My daughter was there. The multicultural community was there,” she said. “The experience was life-giving. So many people could be heard saying, ‘Look how blessed we are,’ and I too uttered those words.” Mandley-Turner’s daughter Kenya Turner served as a lector at the installation Mass.
Mandley-Turner said she was pleased to hear the archbishop’s message of unity, as well as his desire to work on important issues, such as racial injustice, an issue he mentioned specifically in his homily.
“The installation said to the metro area that we can do this together. This meant here at home in our Catholic church we have growth opportunities around racial injustices, evangelization and education,” she said.
“In the larger community, we have growth opportunities as partners in making this community one where all are welcomed,” she said. “The church isn’t separate. We don’t live in isolation. We’re part of the fabric of this entire community.”
During his homily, Archbishop Fabre said the archdiocese is facing “unique circumstances,” including poverty, which he called the local church to work on together.
Within the Archdiocese of Louisville, the needs of impoverished people have steadily increased. Catholic Charities of Louisville’s Sister Visitor Center reported April 5 that the need for food nearly tripled in 2021. The charity served 517 individuals in January 2021; in December 2021 it served 1,433 individuals. The center, located on West Market Street, serves people in the Russell, Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods.
Lisa DeJaco Crutcher, who serves as CEO of Catholic Charities of Louisville, attended the installation and said it was a “wonderful ceremony.”
“Archbishop Fabre seems to put a real emphasis on caring for one another,” she said, adding that it was significant to her that he mentioned the issue of poverty in his installation homily. “It’s exciting that he has this aspect of the church at the heart of his philosophy. … I’m very excited to get to know our new archbishop and introduce him to the work we’re doing and get to hear from him about his sense of where we should be. Maybe there are things he’s seen elsewhere that he may like us to begin.”
DeJaco Crutcher noted Archbishop Fabre is on the board of Catholic Relief Services and said “that’s really exciting. It gives me hope to hear he’s been involved in the church’s charitable work so intensively in the past.”
Art Turner, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Faith Formation, said the installation was moving and that he appreciated Archbishop Fabre’s message.
“I loved the fact that it wasn’t about him, but about Jesus Christ. He’s setting the right tone,” said Turner. “I appreciate the sense of ‘we’ll be doing this together.’ He was laying out for us the sense that as a church ‘I won’t tell you what to do,’ we’ll walk this journey together.”
Archbishop Fabre noted in a February interview following his announcement as the new archbishop, that education — both in Catholic schools and in the parishes — is important to him.
Turner said, “I’m very excited Archbishop Fabre named formation and education as priorities. I’m eager to learn if he has a vision or if it’s something we’ll work on together.”
The fact that the archbishop mentioned education in parishes “looks like a nod to religious education for kids (who are) not in Catholic schools. That’s a very good sign,” said Turner, adding that he’s ready to implement the archbishop’s vision, whatever it may be.
Among others who attended the installation were Dr. Mary Beth Bowling, superintendent of Catholic Schools, as well as numerous educators and groups of students from elementary and high schools in the archdiocese.
Bowling said the archbishop’s message of unity “struck” her because it aligns with her office’s vision for Catholic schools.
“Earlier in the school year, we focused on what we called the Be-Atitudes of our ministry as teachers,” she said. They came up with three, including “Be-Invitational,” which, she noted, speaks to the archbishop’s message of “we are all in this together.”
Bowling said the hope of the Catholic Schools Office is to “support his vision in a way that gives more life to our parish, church and school communities,” she said.
“I’d like to explore his vision and how that connects with what we’re doing. ‘We are in this together,’ I truly believe that. The more we work together the better we’ll all be in moving forward with the mission,” she said.
Archbishop Fabre’s episcopal motto, “Comfort My People,” also resonates as her office seeks ways to provide “comfort and resources” to students, teachers and staff who are dealing with the “social and emotional struggles” caused by the pandemic, she added.