Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre’s installation as the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville on March 30 was, according its witnesses, exciting.
For Bruce Hines, a parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Archbishop Fabre’s homily was the highlight of the Mass.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “The most exciting part is he’s one of us. He’s a bishop of the people.”
A tangible expression, he said, is the crozier Archbishop Fabre has chosen.
“His crozier is wooden,” Hines said. “That’s impressive. There’s no pretense there.”
Jim Williams, a parishioner of St. William Church, said the archbishop’s wooden staff comes across as pastoral.
“I have a very good feeling about him,” he said after visiting Archbishop Fabre in the receiving line following Mass. “With all that Louisville’s been through, I think he’ll be good about bringing healing to our community.”
Mike Swearingen, a parishioner of St. Louis Bertrand Church, said he’s not only excited but also grateful. Swearingen, along with the group of Holy Angels Academy students he accompanied, were among the first to greet Archbishop Fabre in his receiving line.
“We’re excited for a new archbishop,” Swearingen said.
Betty Jean Cobb, parishioner of Holy Trinity Church, said the whole day felt exuberant.
“You could see the excitement in the audience,” she said during the reception that followed Mass. “It was just glorious. The entire ceremony was filled with a feeling of excitement.”
Many people, including Donna Schabel, recalled attending Archbishop Joseph Kurtz’s installation nearly 15 years ago and expressed enthusiasm for the new archbishop.
“It was moving and prayerful back then,” Schabel, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Church said. “I think it’s exciting. It’s a whole new transition and opportunity.”
For Catholic school students, Archbishop Kurtz’s installation would be difficult to remember — seniors in high school would have been toddlers during the 2007 celebration.
However, attending Archbishop Fabre’s installation gave them a chance to participate in history being made.
Sidney Marquette, a senior at Mercy Academy, said she was excited to see everyone together and that she’d “never seen so many important people in the same place before.”
Her classmate, junior Abby Emerson, said it was cool to be part of history and that her favorite part of the ceremony was watching different cultures blend together.
“Oh, and the song at the end with all the voices together,” she added.
The song, “Taste and See,” was led by soloist Veronica Downs-Dorsey and its soulful rendition drew cheers from the attendees. The new archbishop bobbed his head to the beat.
Mercy freshman Megan Dawson said the moment Archbishop Fabre sat in his cathedra — the seat of the bishop — and officially became archbishop of Louisville was what struck her the most.
“Archbishop Shelton seems like a genuine, nice person,” she said.
Jim Williams from St. William believes Pope Francis made the right decision when he assigned Archbishop Fabre to the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“I think we’re very lucky,” Williams said. “I enjoyed when he was speaking; he came across as pastoral and welcoming. It makes me optimistic for a smooth transition and that he’ll address our troubles.”