My mom and I were watching the ordination and installation of Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, former theologian to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, professor at the Dominican House of Studies in DC, and aide to the former Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.  The Archbishop is now secretary [read: second-in-command] of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican.

It is an enormous honor for an American, and a fellow American came back to the nation’s capital to ordain him, namely, Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

While watching the Mass, Mom made the curious comment that the new Archbishop looked “scared.”  As I watched, I had to agree.  He didn’t look particularly happy at this pivotal moment in his life.

I don’t know him, so perhaps it is his nature to look subdued and austere.  Or, as Mom and I speculated (as we are wont to do), perhaps he realizes that this is his Wedding Feast of Cana moment.

Who knows what lies ahead of him.  While he has played an important role in the Church for the last decade, this appointment is the most significant.  Will he ever return to America?  Where will he go from here?  Could he replace Cardinal Levada at the CDF?  Will he be present at the next conclave?  Whatever his role may be over the several decades, his cross is only getting heavier and his life is becoming less his own.

And while we can only speculate, it is important to remember to pray for these men, our leaders and fathers.  As Archbishop Di Noia had a chance to speak at the end of Mass, he took the time to thank God.  He spoke very briefly, and there was no joking, no telling stories of his own life, no recognizing people in the congregation.

He reminded the people present that at moments like this, “there is a temptation … to congratulate ourselves.  But the glory is to God alone.”   After thanking God for the pontificate of Pope Benedict, he prayed for the Pope, saying, “May this feast of his patron, St Benedict, give him grace and the joy that comes from serving Christ faithfully.”

He thanked God for the ministry of the Cardinals present, and he thanked God for the Dominican Order.  He glorified God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

And that was it.  Words from a man who knows his life is Christ’s.   His Wedding Feast of Cana moment– a time of great joy and privilege, a pivotal moment– but the shoulders can already feel the cross.

Pray for these men!