Chesterton Tribune



Most Reverend Robert J. McClory ordained fifth Bishop of Gary

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With the Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre, the official delegate of the Pope, in attendance, Most Reverend Robert J. McClory, 56, was ordained a bishop and installed as the fifth Bishop of Gary during a special Mass held at Holy Angels Cathedral on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the feast of our Lady of Lourdes.

More than 800 faithful, including family and friends, community leaders, deacons, religious, priests and bishops from across the country gathered to witness the ordination and installation.

“The people have been warm and gracious,” said Bishop McClory. “There’s a sense of excitement that I have, that has certainly been present in the people of the Diocese of Gary. I’m looking forward to greeting many people over the coming days.”

The bishop viewed the day as a celebration for all of Northwest Indiana. He said he hopes the joy of the day will send a message of encouragement to the region, resonating with the people of God and beyond.

The last priest to be ordained a bishop in the Diocese of Gary was its founding shepherd, Bishop Andrew G. Grutka, who is entombed at the cathedral.

All bishops are appointed by the Holy Father, the Pope, and ordained by at least three bishops who celebrate the sacrament. Although deacons and priests are also set aside in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, only bishops receive the “fullness of orders.”

The ordination of a bishop is a signature event in the life of a priest and the Catholic diocese to which he is appointed. More than the appointment of a chief administer; the ordination of a bishop is an elevation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The bishop is “configured” or “wedded” to Christ in a profound and permanent way and receives graces needed to fulfill his vow to serve as a shepherd.

The ordination rite itself is drawn from the earliest days of the Church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and early 1st century documents. With the “laying on of hands,” bishops are set aside for a particular purpose, in the same manner that the High Priest was set aside in the Old Testament. A newly ordained bishop is “set aside,” in fact, as a successor to the Apostles, to lead God’s people as shepherd after the pattern of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.

On the Monday prior to the Ordination Mass, more than 1,000 family, friends and faithful gathered with then Bishop-elect McClory for Evening Prayer, or Vespers, at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Schererville.

Evening Prayer is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, which defines specific times of prayer as a response to Jesus’ command to “pray always” (Luke 18:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Through this order of prayer, the community maintains continual praise of God with prayers of intercession for the needs of the world. Evening Prayer particularly gives thanks and praise to God for the day just finished.

“It’s a beautiful tradition,” the Bishop-elect commented. “The evening prayer service provided a wonderful opportunity for others to join in the ceremony and witness the blessing of the bishop’s insignia.”

There are various insignia ÐÐ symbolic items used by a bishop ÐÐ that need to be blessed before being used by the bishop. The evening prayer service provided a public opportunity to witness the blessing of the bishop’s mitre, crozier (shepherd’s staff) and ring.

Prior to his ordination, then-Monsignor McClory served as the pastor and rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Mich.

Born in Detroit, he is the youngest of four children of James and Ann McClory (both deceased). He attended Saint Francis DeSales grade school until his family moved to Royal Oak where he graduated from Saint Mary Grade School and Dondero High School.

In his previous assignments, Bishop McClory served as the vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Archdiocese of Detroit. In that capacity, he was the chief of staff for Archbishop Vigneron in coordinating the central offices of the archdiocese. He also served as the pastor of Presentation Our Lady of Victory parish in Detroit.

Until his appointment to the Diocese of Gary, Bishop McClory served on the Archdiocese of Detroit Episcopal Council, College of Consultors, Priest Assignment Board and New Evangelization Council. He also serves as the spiritual advisor to Detroit Team Eight for Teams of Our Lady, a marriage enrichment apostolate.

As a consultant with the Catholic Leadership Institute, he offered leadership training to priests, deacons, seminarians, parish and diocesan leaders. At Sacred Heart Major Seminary graduate school of theology in Detroit, he taught Introduction to Canon Law, Sacramental and Ecumenical Law, and the Theology and Law of Marriage.

Prior to becoming moderator of the curia, Bishop McClory served as chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit, administrative secretary to Cardinal Adam Maida, and as associate pastor at St. Isidore parish, Macomb Township and St. Therese of Lisieux parish, Shelby Township. He has been a weekend associate at Our Lady of the Lakes parish, Waterford; St. Blase parish, Sterling Heights; and St. Andrew parish, Rochester.

Bp. McClory studied philosophy at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He was then sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in 1998 from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Bp. McClory completed his license in canon law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 2000. His thesis was entitled, “The Implementation of Ex corde Ecclesiae in the United States.”

Bishop McClory was ordained a deacon by Cardinal Edmund Szoka in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on Oct. 8, 1998. He was ordained a priest by Cardinal Maida at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit, on May 22, 1999. He was given the title of Monsignor and made a chaplain to His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI on May 20, 2005.

Prior to entering the seminary, Bishop McClory earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Oakland University, a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Columbia University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

He served on the boards of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Saint Catherine of Siena Academy in Wixom and Loyola High School in Detroit. He has been the spiritual advisor for the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit and chaplain to the Detroit Northeast Chapter of Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders and their spouses. He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America and served as a member of the Committee on Civil and Canon Law. He has been a priest-observer for Region VI, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a third degree Knight of Columbus.

“Serving as a parish priest, in the Chancery and on many other levels in the Archdiocese of Detroit, I look forward to his many experiences and knowledge that will assist in the vibrancy of the Diocese of Gary parishes and schools,” said Rev. Jon Plavcan, pastor of St. Patrick’s, in Chesterton.

The Diocese of Gary, Indiana, was established Dec. 17, 1956 by Pope Pius XII. The first bishop was Most Rev. Andrew G. Grutka (1956-1984). He was succeeded by the Most Revs. Norbert Gaughan (1984-1996), Dale J. Melczek (1996-2014), and Donald J. Hying (2014-2019).

The diocese covers 1,807 miles, including Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke counties in northwestern Indiana. The mother church of the diocese is Cathedral of the Holy Angels in Gary.

The population of the area is 786,500; the Catholic population is estimated to be 168,500. The diocese comprises 64 parishes, seven hospitals, two colleges, three high schools, one private high school, and 17 elementary schools. The total number of students under Catholic instruction, including parish faith formation, is 13,029.

There are 89 diocesan priests and 41 religious priests serving the Diocese of Gary. The diocese is also served by 18 religious brothers, 57 religious sisters, 66 permanent deacons and 283 lay ecclesial ministers.

Posted 2/14/2020


Posted 2/14/2020





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