I went to the installation with three other friars, taking the subway to Rockefeller Center. Approaching the Palace Hotel behind the Cathedral, there were all kinds of great photos to be missed: a young man in a beautiful cassock eating a giant sandwich, a canon regular in full regalia guffawing on his cell phone.
At the hotel the vesting room was like a clerical mosh pit littered with black jackets and briefcases. From there we were herded onto 51st St. on the north side of the Cathedral and lined up in several columns of two by two. At this point we stood for a while, and it was here that you saw everybody: more deacons and priests than I had ever seen in one place before, canons regular, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of Columbus, and others that I couldn't identify.
Eventually the procession began, and we were led past archbishop Dolan, who was greeting everyone from the north side entrance of the Cathedral. Behind him the many cardinals who were in attendance sat like a kind of entourage. We turned onto Fifth Ave. and entered the Cathedral. We were led around the north side of the sanctuary to chairs that were set up in front of St. Louis's altar. (If you know St. Patrick's, this is the altar just to the ad orientem left of the Lady Chapel.) From there you couldn't see much, but there were TV monitors for us.
Once the procession was finally over, it seems to me that Cardinal Egan made a little speech before Archbishop Siambi made a long one, which he read in the pulpit from a folded set of papers held right in front of his face. Finally the apostolic letter of transfer was read and taken to the altar to be notarized. Dolan was led to the cathedra and then the Mass began in earnest with the Gloria and we were on our way.
The first reading was proclaimed in Spanish, the psalm was beautiful, and then the same deacon who had read the Gospel at the Chrism Mass got up to do it again. He sang it this time, and good for him; it was Luke's account of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, and that's a long one.
Dolan did very well preaching. He was friendly, reverent toward both the past and present of New York in many ways, spoke to his mother and called her "Mom," and when he came to the pro-life part he got a standing ovation. Continuing on his pro-life theme, calling the Church the "mother bear" who would fight for her cubs in danger, we all applauded again. Dolan didn't deny the challenges before us, though, which he identified as the presence of the death of the Lord within his Church, but urged us all together to turn all the highways and streets of the archdiocese into the road to Emmaus on which the Lord himself draws near and walks with us.
The intercessions were proclaimed in several languages, beginning with one in Irish that wasn't in the program. The offertory went quickly, and Dolan prayed the first preface of Easter, in which he said, "...in this Easter season" instead of the "on this Easter Day" appropriate for the whole octave. He whipped through Eucharistic Prayer II and we were at the Communion Rite.
After Holy Communion, many ciboria ended up in the tabernacle behind us on St. Louis's altar. Trouble was, the mensa was too wide and the tabernacle too high for the average priest to reach it. So, lifting a transitional deacon onto a folding chair, the Blessed Sacrament was safely reserved. Later, a very tall priest was impressed into service so that the Sacrament might be reposed with a little more dignity. A vigil light was brought, but because nobody smokes anymore, there was no way to light it. The dissapointed server left and returned a little later with a light that was already lit.
For us random presbyters, there was no procession out, so we left through the back door, returned to the mosh pit of now unvesting clergy and knights, returned to our parish by 207th St., and went out for a beer.
It was a very happy day. We are grateful to God for our new Archbishop, and pray for every gift of the Holy Spirit as he begins his ministry among us.