Thousands expected to attend
March 30 installation Mass

Shortly after 2 p.m. on March 30, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre will formally be installed as the new Archbishop of Louisville.

The papal nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will read the apostolic mandate by Pope Francis appointing Archbishop Fabre to his new post. After he formally accepts the appointment, he will be led to the cathedra — the bishops’ chair that normally occupies the cathedral. It will have been brought to the Kentucky International Convention Center for the occasion.

“The chair is the official symbol of his role as shepherd,” said Dr. Karen Shadle, director of the Office of Worship. “When he is escorted to the chair is the moment he officially becomes the shepherd of the diocese. It’s the seat of the diocese. The cathedra is where we get the name cathedral — it houses the chair.”

For the day, the cathedra will occupy the convention center ballroom and will help transform it into a worship space.

If a convention center seems an unlikely locale for a prayerful liturgical celebration, consider the visual addition of the procession. Up to 400, and possibly more, members of the clergy are expected to be part of the Mass.

Among them will be about 100 deacons, 300 priests and as many as 50 bishops, as well as seminarians who will serve the Mass, said Shadle.

“We’ll probably begin the procession about 10 minutes before 2 p.m. so the principal celebrants enter at about 2,” she said.

Music for the celebration will begin at about 1:30 p.m. to start setting a prayerful atmosphere, said Shadle.

It will be provided by an adult choir of 110 singers and a children’s choir composed of 30 children from Catholic schools. They will be accompanied by a brass quintet.

The convention center will have seating for about 3,400 people. One-third of the seats will be reserved for close friends and family, clergy and representatives of religious orders, lay organizations and civic representatives, Shadle said. The remainder will be open seating. Doors open at 12:45 p.m.

“We ask people not to show up and reserve a large bunch of seats. If large groups come, they may not be able to sit together. You have to be present to have your seat,” she added.

The venue is at street level and accessible.

A hospitality team will be on hand to help guide the congregation to the worship space for Mass.

The entire celebration is expected to last about two hours. It will be followed by a public reception in the lobby.

Parking for the convention center is available in nearby parking garages — the Commonwealth Garage, 313 S. Fourth St., and Cowger Garage, 329 W. Market St.

Before the installation Mass, and in contrast to the celebratory event, Archbishop Fabre will be received quietly and solemnly at the Cathedral of the Assumption during a special Vespers Service March 29.

Clergy and staff of the archdiocese have been invited to attend the evening prayer service, which will be sung and conducted by candlelight, said Shadle. The public is also invited to join the service. The cathedral seats about 700.

Vespers will begin at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral, 433 S. Fifth St. It will be followed by a simple reception provided by the Cathedral parish.

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