Friday, July 22, 2011

Archbishop Charles Chaput and September 8th

I read with interest that Archbishop Charles Chaput will be installed as the ninth archbishop of Philadelphia at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, on September 8th, a feast day of Mary, her nativity. It's a date very close to my heart since I was born on that day too, either by coincidence or divine design. Someday I'll find that out. Archbishop Chaput is a Capuchin Franciscan with an American Indian heritage. That's a rather interesting mix. He is a member of the Potawatomi Prairie Band tribe and as he explained at a news conference, he has two Indian names. One name from the Potawatomi meaning "he who makes the leaves rustle like the wind." Apparently, his late mother called him, at times, "Windy," because of that meaning. The other name from the Lakota tribe meaning, "good eagle." Coming to the East Coast, and most especially to Philadelphia, to be the Archbishop of Philadelphia at this time in history, he will need the strength and courage of an Indian warrior and the majesty, accuracy and strength of an eagle. He will have to learn quickly that the East Coast is a very fast paced, "sharp-edged," part of the country. It's a place like no other, since you have three major cities here- NYC, Boston and Philadelphia (not too far from each other) and then of course Washington, DC. It's a pretty intense atmosphere. I'm sure he's up for the task as long as he understands how the East Coast operates.
The Archbishop's American Indian name probably came from the fact that it was windy when he was born. (I know a little about Indian culture as I have always been fascinated by the American Indian's love and respect for nature.) Perhaps the wind was the movement of the Holy Spirit, since he was destined to become an archbishop and an influential one at that.
In my living room I have a collector's plate of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha holding a lamb. It's a beautiful piece, hand signed by the artist who made the image. I'm sure Kateri will pray for the Archbishop's success in Philadelphia and for healing for that city and I'm sure the Archbishop is praying for Kateri as well.
It seems to me, the Holy Spirit was at work, in a powerful way, in the choosing of the archbishop for his new role in Philly. I read that his name was not on the original list given to Pope Benedict for consideration. Pope Benedict, I assume encouraged by the Spirit, decided that Archbishop Chaput was the leader needed for Philadelphia at this time. I like the idea that the Pope was urged by the Spirit to make another choice, other than the ones presented to him, that's a good sign for the future Church.
God's blessings on Philadelphia and their incoming Archbishop. It's such a great city, so much American history, I've always enjoyed my visits there. While there, I loved seeing the Liberty Bell in person, it's such a great symbol of the greatness of our country.