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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ceremony for Catholic leader expected to draw huge crowd

By Mary Kaye Ritz
Advertiser Religion & Ethics Writer

The installation-ordination for Bishop-elect Larry Silva on July 21 is promising to be big — so big, in fact, a single church can't hold it.

Bishop-elect Larry Silva's installation-ordination ceremony will be July 21 at Blaisdell Arena.

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Instead, the Diocese of Honolulu will do the honors for its newest leader at the Blaisdell Arena.

The installation-ordination will be Hawai'i's first such dual ceremony, since past leaders of the Roman Catholic diocese, with its estimated quarter-million Catholics, were ordained as bishops well before being installed as the head of the diocese.

Not only will the venue be large, but the guest list is impressive: at least a handful of bishops; two archbishops (including Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio, on what will be his first trip to Hawai'i on official business as the papal representative to the United States); and Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the nation.

Included among the notables is Archbishop William Levada, recently tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to take over his old Vatican post as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He's the first American picked for the post and the only American to serve at such an elevated position within the Holy See.

Levada is not expected to head to Rome until after the event and has indicated he will attend, said Monsignor Terry Watanabe.

Included among the bishops will be former and present bishops of Oakland, where Silva serves as vicar general.

It's not the first time Hawai'i has put out the red carpet. Watanabe said yesterday that the late Bishop Joseph Ferrario's installation in 1982 brought in multitudes to the Blaisdell.

"We fed 5,000 in 45 minutes," he said with a laugh, likening it to the biblical story of the loaves and fishes. "We're very proud of that fact."

Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, who precedes Silva, had an installation service about a decade ago at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.

DiLorenzo was a bishop when he was selected to come to Hawai'i, first on an interim basis, and installed about a year later.

Watanabe said several factors contribute to such grand turnout expectations: Silva comes from the West Coast, which makes it easier for friends and family to travel; he's the first in his seminary class to become a bishop, so his classmates will be eager to make the trip; and a large constituency from Oakland may want to come. And as a Hawai'i-born priest, he has plenty of friends and family here.

The diocese is still hammering out plans for the ceremony, which will be open to the public. Watanabe said they'll ask parishes to take a head count, and encourage them to take buses to the arena.

Reach Mary Kaye Ritz at mritz@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8035.