Bishop Roy Campbell ordained as auxiliary bishop for Washington
April 21, 2017
At a Mass marked by joy and thanksgiving, Cardinal Donald Wuerl ordained Bishop Roy Edward Campbell Jr. as a new auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington on April 21 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
“The bishop we ordain today comes also as a native son of the archdiocese – one who received the faith and was formed in that faith right here and who already brings a sense of continuity with the pastoral life of this church,” the cardinal said.
The co-consecrating bishops were Memphis Bishop Martin D. Holley, who served as an auxiliary bishop of Washington from 2004 until 2016; and Washington Auxiliary Bishop Barry C. Knestout. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis appointing Bishop Campbell to be an auxiliary bishop for Washington.
The 12 other bishops who participated in the Mass included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington; Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonvlle; and retired Auxiliary Bishop Francisco González, S.F. The concelebrants at the Mass included about 100 priests, and about 50 deacons were in attendance.
Sitting in the front sections of the cathedral were many of the new bishop’s family members, along with members of St. Joseph Parish in Largo, where Father Campbell has served as pastor since 2010, and where he will continue to serve as pastor now that he is a bishop.
In a liturgy rich with symbolism, Cardinal Wuerl, then the co-consecrating bishops, then the other bishops did the laying on of hands on Bishop Campbell’s head, the key sacramental gesture that ordained him as a bishop. The imposition of hands invoking the Holy Spirit is used in every sacrament.
Moments earlier, the bishop-elect prostrated himself on the floor as the Litany of Saints was chanted, which included the names of recent saints John XXIII, John Paul II, Junípero Serra and Teresa of Calcutta.
During the ordination, Cardinal Wuerl anointed the new bishop with holy chrism, and presented him with the signs of the office: the Book of the Gospel for his teaching role; the bishop’s ring as a sign of fidelity; the miter echoing that worn by the high priest in the Temple of Jerusalem; and the pastoral staff as a sign of the bishop’s role as a shepherd of his flock.
Then the newly ordained bishop shared the sign of peace with the other bishops in attendance, and moments later, he joined Cardinal Wuerl in receiving the offertory gifts from family members.
After Communion, the new bishop, holding his shepherd’s staff and wearing his miter, smiled as he walked down the aisle of the cathedral, offering his first blessing as applause cascaded through the majestic church.
Then Bishop Campbell briefly addressed the congregation, offering thanks and asking for prayers.
“I’d like to thank God for allowing me to answer his call and serve him and his church as a deacon, priest and now a bishop,” he said, saying that in his new role, he will seek to love and serve God and His people.
Bishop Campbell thanked God, and also expressed gratitude to his family and Cardinal Wuerl. He prayed for Mary’s intercession, that God will guide him and the people of the archdiocese to do God’s will, help the church grow, and be fruitful in their service.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl said, “Our prayer, the prayers of all of the clergy, religious and faithful of this archdiocesan Church are, at this moment, for you and your ministry. As you face the challenges of episcopal service, we pray that you will be constantly sustained by God’s grace.”
Reflecting the joy of that day, the cardinal said, “I join my voice to that of your family, friends, the presbyterium, and all the faithful of this local Church in praise to God for this wonderful moment that promises so much good for the Church.”
That sentiment was also expressed by family members who joined friends at a reception for Bishop Campbell after the Mass.
His mother Elizabeth Campbell, who is Baptist, said, “I’m as proud of him as I can be.”
That was echoed by his cousin Brenda Nesbitt, who said, “We're so proud of him, and he's never been happier.” Another cousin, Cynthia Washington, added, “If I could do cartwheels I’d be doing them.”
The new bishop’s aunt, Louise Washington, said, “I’ve been on cloud nine ever since I heard” that he was becoming a bishop.
Bishop Campbell, a native of Charles County, moved with his family to Washington when he was young, and later graduated from Sacred Heart School and Archbishop Carroll High School. After retiring from a successful career in banking, he was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2007, and 10 years later, was ordained as a bishop for his home diocese.
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